According to market research firm IDC, 26.4 million wearable devices were shipped in 2014. The firm expects the shipments to grow by 173% to reach 72 million units in 2015. Wearable devices capture multiple health and fitness related data points. They capture heart rate, steps per day, sleep patterns among other vitals. Missing, till now, is a connection between the data captured in these devices and communicating it to the doctor’s office.
To date, most of the data resides with the patient or device owner and there is no easy way to transfer the same to doctor’s office. Novant Health, via its electronic portal MyChart, will allow patients to share the data captured by their wearables with their doctors. MyChart is a free tool that gives patients limited access to the same information that their doctors have. Besides information on medical history, medications, lab results, the portal also allows patients to manage their appointments, request prescription refills and message queries to their doctors as well. According to Novant Health, more than 430,000 patients using MyChart will be able to submit data from their wearables and smart scales directly to their doctors. According to Epic Systems, a company that makes software for major medical groups and integrated healthcare organizations to provide clinical, access and revenue functionalities for administration, 50% of MyChart users login to the patient portal to check their medical reports, charts etc. Epic expects the engagement with MyChart to increase with this newly added functionality. Besides medical history and test results, having patients’ activity data will equip doctors with better information to manage patients’ health. Benefit to the patient will include being able to keep the doctor’s reports current between appointments.
While jury is still out on whether wearables help with health and patient management or not, some doctors do believe that these devices are making patients more responsible and accountable towards their health and fitness needs.