Health Tech Insider’s primary focus is on wearable and mobile devices for health and medical applications. We write about new wearables and the developing technologies that make new devices and applications possible. We often write about research studies that evaluate wearables. We also regularly cover wearables market reports and predictions. To date, however, we’ve not reported on the extent to which U.S. adults use wearable healthcare technology. Thanks to researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Information and Decision Sciences, there is now data concerning current healthcare wearable use and predictors for future usage by American adults.

The research team described the study in a report in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The group compiled the report from a nationwide survey of 4,551 U.S. adults. The survey included questions about the respondents’ wearable healthcare device usage, frequency of use, and their willingness to share data from the wearables with their medical care providers. The survey also gathered information on respondent demographics, individual health, and confidence in their ability to use wearable technology.

Analysis of the survey data found that, from this study, approximately 30% of those surveyed use wearable healthcare devices. Among the users, 47% use them daily and 82% are willing to share the data with their healthcare providers. The predictive indicators showed higher usage among women, white individuals, people with at least some college education, and those with annual household incomes higher than $75,000, Those who were more likely to use wearables to monitor their health, also tended to report feeling healthier, being overweight, enjoying exercise, and having higher levels of technology confidence and competence.

The Illinois study is welcome, although it’s limited in size and methodology. The data came from self-administered mail-in questionnaires and an Internet-based pilot program collected during the first four months of 2019 by the National Cancer Institute. Additional studies with larger datasets and additional methodologies with various populations will help shape the understanding of current wearable usage and future use predictors. This study is a helpful start both for the data it generated but also for its framework. Future studies will be able to build upon and may alter this study’s questions, collection, and analyses, but now we have a starting point.