The growth of wearable medical devices is not likely to slow any time soon, but many users are uncomfortable about becoming dependent on the devices due to concern over inaccurate health measurements or malfunctions, according to a survey on The Manifest, a business news and how-to site.
The survey found that more than one-third of people (38%) believe tracking exercise is the primary benefit of investing in a wearable, but a significant number are concerned about inaccurate health measurements or malfunctions. More specifically, 36% of the 581 people surveyed worry that their wearable could give wrong measurements about their heart rate and vital signs; 18% are concerned their device could malfunction; and 14% worry about becoming over-reliant on their wearable.
People with an irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure may rely on their wearable to provide information that keeps them healthy. If the wearable doesn't adjust to their specific heart rhythm or pressure, then the device could provide inaccurate data that should not be used to adjust behaviors or medical treatments.
According to the survey, the primary benefit of buying a wearable is to track exercise (38% of respondents) and measure heart rate (26%). When functioning correctly, wearables can increase people's awareness about their general health and gives users constant access to personalized fitness data.
A lesser percentage, 14%, think the most valuable component of owning a wearable is receiving alerts to possible medical emergencies. For example, if a user's heart rate is too high, then their fitness tracker will send an alert saying they need to lower their heart rate or seek medical help. Still smaller percentages of respondents worry about the complexity of interpreting wearable data (12%) and data security (10%).
The survey noted that while people are leery about wearables, businesses continue to invest in them to help employees track their health habits and engage in preventative health care measures which could reduce doctor visits. Fewer health care visits would enable businesses to lower their health insurance costs.
Read the full report here.