Health ‘track­ers’ won’t work if they don’t prompt change

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent Vi­tal Signs blog post “Wear­able ac­tiv­ity track­ers: Do they help health and well­ness?” (Mod­ern­Health­, Sept. 17), re­search on the sus­tain­able use and value of “track­ers” has shown a common thread: that be­hav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion has not been ad­dressed by the track­ing plat­forms. Yes, so­cial net­work­ing, coach­ing, gaming, peer-support nudg­ing and more have all been in­cor­po­rated, but specif­i­cally ad­dress­ing be­hav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion has been sorely lack­ing. This is ev­i­denced by the sad statis­tic of the in­abil­ity to sus­tain en­gage­ment. In other words, the track­ing de­vices end up in a drawer after less than nine months. Per­haps, tracker com­pa­nies should em­ploy be­hav­ior­ists or psy­chol­o­gists to craft a so­lu­tion. It con­cerns me that the in­dus­try is view­ing wear­able sen­sors as the next big col­lec­tion point to fill the pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics data­base.

Rick Mei­der Sun­ny­vale, Calif.

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