Forecast: Physician use of patient-generated data to reach 'critical mass' by 2020

The wearables market in the United States is projected to reach $5.5 billion in revenue in 2017, representing a 3 percent year-over-year increase, according to Consumer Technology Association report.

The report, titled Wearable Health and Fitness Technology in U.S. Medical Care, draws from interviews with healthcare stakeholders — such as physicians, insurance executives and digital health experts — alongside secondary research to identify trends in patient-generated health data.

Here are four things to know.

  • The United States could reach a "critical mass" of physicians using patient-generated devices by 2020, according to the report.

  • This prediction is based off a few observations, such as wearables becoming more frequently used in clinical trials and insurers offering free wearables and incentives to customers.

  • However, the report also identified two main challenges to the acceptance of patient-generated data in the medical community: lack of integration with EHRs and concerns about the standards of fitness trackers.

  • From the consumer perspective, patients may also have concerns about data privacy, and thus feel uncomfortable with continuous monitoring or data sharing.

"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," said James Mault, MD, chairman of CTA's health and fitness technology division.

"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."

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