More patients are willing to share data from wearables

Futuristic hologram infographic display on smartwatch, 3d rendering medical data user interface screen app on hi-tech watch, heart rate SpO2 scanning and physical health condition UI technology
Sheila Zabeu -

November 03, 2023

A much larger number of patients are willing to share data about their health conditions collected by wearable devices with their doctors. In 2021, 56% were “very interested” in this behavior; just two years later, this percentage grew to 91%.

Software Advice’s 2023 Consumer Wearables  study interviewed more than 850 patients in the United States. Almost all of them (86%) were more inclined to choose doctors who incorporate data from wearable devices into their work regimens.

For patients ready to use wearables and share the data collected, the main thing they want is to take a more active role in their own treatment (82%) and improve their health outcomes (77%). An overwhelming proportion was also eager to receive medical prescriptions adapted for their wearables. In addition, a significant group (76%) feel more comfortable sharing data from their wearable devices with doctors during face-to-face examinations and providing data in admission documentation prior to examinations (73%).

Por que razão está interessado em partilhar dados do seu dispositivo pessoal com o seu médico?

According to the study, this greater patient engagement through wearable devices could bode well for medical teams, since it is already known that patients who are more committed to following medical guidelines and treatment protocols enjoy better results. For 59% of respondents, incorporating data from wearables into proposed treatments would help encourage them to make healthier choices, such as exercising more often.

Challenges beyond the benefits

“The wearables market continues to diversify, and we are seeing more and more new and improved technologies, such as biosensors and patches, that can help prevent, monitor and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, with these advances comes the imperative need to prioritize data security,” says Lisa Morris, associate principal medical analyst at Software Advice.

Only 9% of the patients interviewed said they were not interested in sharing wearable data with doctors. The reasons for this group feeling this way are concerns about privacy (63%), loss of personal data in a potential security breach (41%) and the possibility of the data not being accurate and leading to negative health results (37%).

The study also asked how, in the view of patients, healthcare teams should incorporate this data into treatments. The preferred method of sharing data is to open the app in the consultation room to pass on the information. It seems that, although the process can be time-consuming, it is a good way to help patients feel comfortable sharing their data with healthcare professionals.

Métodos preferidos dos doentes para partilhar dados de dispositivos portáteis com os médicos

A sizable group (73%) of patients say they are happy to fill out the admission paperwork and provide the wearables’ data along with the rest of the medical history and the reason for the appointment.

On the side of healthcare professionals, how to use the data collected by wearable devices will depend on each patient. They could be used as a basis for making more specific recommendations or to go one step further and “prescribe” actions that patients will be able to track using their devices – 78% of patients are interested in this, regardless of age or gender.

The research uses patients with diabetes as an example. The doctor will be able to “prescribe” via a personal fitness monitoring device 30 minutes of light exercise a day to adjust insulin levels.

Although 92% of patients still feel more comfortable wearing the devices on their wrist to monitor physical conditions such as heart rate, oxygenation and hours of sleep, they are already looking at other technologies such as biosensors tattooed on the skin and contact lenses with data visualization.