Hello and thanks for reading (or watching),
One of the hottest trends in both consumer goods and technology is the smart wearables (namely smartwatches) that gather different biometric data. These devices allow you to know about your heart rate, how you are sleeping and in some cases, more advanced metrics like your blood oxygen level. In addition, there are a ton of other home-based devices that let you gather information like your blood pressure.
Once you have gathered the data, it is brought to a cloud-based software engine that does it magic by putting the data into a format that you can see……you can see how you are doing now, how you have done over time and it often even offers suggestions to improve your readings.
This all sounds wonderful….but does it actually make a difference in your overall health?
I think it does, and here are a few reasons why:
1) Trend data can be useful
Taking your blood pressure or looking at your heart rate once gives some indication as to how you are doing now, but if you took it daily under similar conditions for a month, it would show a better baseline as to how you are doing. This trend can show how a new exercise program, medication or even stress from a new job is helping/hurting your health.
2) Data can be shared
Most of the software programs allow you to share data with a loved one or with your doctor. This allows them to keep a closer eye on your health, alerting them of changes that may need to be addressed.
3) Doctor’s offices are the worst place to get an accurate reading
Even if we are healthy, many of us feel a bit uptight at the doctors office, so the readings from your Blood Pressure and Heart rate are sure to be elevated. This may give the medical professional the idea that you potentially have hypertension when you may in fact be fine.
4) Insurance companies seem to believe in them
Insurance companies are the “Moneyball” of the business world, meaning that they are far more data driven than anyone else. Insurance companies are starting to offer reduced rates for members who use wearables, so they much also believe in the power of the data.
The Bottom Line
Gathering all of the data is only useful in two cases….if you are consistent enough to gather the data each day for at least a month or two to get a good baseline and if you are willing to act on that data. So, if you have an elevated Blood Pressure, the data will only help if you are willing to change your lifestyle to lower it. If you are, this data can be life-saving, but if you are not, you might as well not use a wearable at all……