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Physician Use of Patient-Generated Data Can Reach “Critical Mass” by 2020, Says CTA

Arlington, VA – February 28, 2017 – 

As the role of consumer health and fitness technologies evolves across the medical industry, the U.S. could reach a “critical mass” of physicians using patient-generated data from devices such as wearables by 2020, according to new research released today by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™. The report, Wearable Health and Fitness Technology in U.S. Medical Care, lays out the opportunities, challenges, regulatory drivers and industry initiatives that will drive the broad use of patient-generated health data in clinical settings in the next three years.
“A range of technological and social forces are converging that will make patient-generated health data an important part of the clinical landscape by 2020,” said James Mault, MD, FACS, vice president and chief medical officer, Qualcomm Life and chairman of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division. “As health insurers and employers begin to use technology to incentivize subscribers to improve their health, consumers will take a more active role in their own healthcare. This enables the medical professional community to deliver patient-specific precision medicine, and move from episodic care to a continuous care model based on real-time health data.”
Opportunities of Health Data
The report draws from secondary research and a series of interviews with key U.S. healthcare industry stakeholders including physicians, insurance industry executives, clinical informaticists, and digital health technology experts. The key findings in the report point to opportunities for patient-generated data in healthcare:

  • Physicians report that patients like using wearables as part of their care because the technology feels less prescriptive than medications.

  • In recent years, the use of wearables in clinical trials has become an emerging part of the research toolkit.

  • Insurers are offering free wearables and cash incentives to subscribers who meet certain health goals.

“More consumers than ever are now harnessing wearable technology and personal data, giving them a greater ability to lead healthier lives,” said Steve Koenig, senior director, Market Research, CTA. “Connectivity is one of the driving trends of our time –– whether that’s remote care or wearables or anytime/anywhere access to information. By using this connectivity to cultivate and analyze individual data, healthcare can be more personalized, more democratized and ultimately more effective.”
Challenges and Responses
Among the challenges to rapid acceptance within the medical community are the lack of integration with Electronic Health Record systems and concerns about standards and efficacy of the health and fitness trackers on the market today. In October 2016, CTA addressed the latter issue with the release of two new standards for wearable health and fitness trackers – defining terms and functionality for step counting wearables and sleep measuring devices.
Additionally, in recognition of consumers’ desire for privacy in an ever more connected world, CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division developed Guiding Principles on the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Dataa first-of-its-kind set of voluntary guidelines for private sector organizations that handle personal wellness data.
Major Health and Fitness Tech Market Growth
According to CTA projections, driven by the popularity of fitness activity trackers, the total wearables market in 2017 in the U.S. – including other health and fitness devices, hearables and smartwatches – is expected to generate shipments of 48 million unit sales (14 percent increase over 2016) and earn $5.5 billion in revenue (three percent year-over-year increase).
Digital Health Revolution at CES 2017
The number and variety of digital health, sports, fitness and sleep technologies continued to grow at an astonishing pace at CES® 2017. The CES Marketplaces showcasing these product categories featured 208 exhibitors highlighting the latest in innovative technology, from smart clothing to smart sports equipment to medical grade wearables. CTA again hosted a VIP Physicians Tour to increase awareness among the medical community about consumer health innovations.
CTA’s report, Wearable Health and Fitness Technology in U.S. Medical Care was designed and formulated by CTA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry.