Wearable Technology and Your Healthcare

Seems like every three weeks or so I dust off my old Fitbit, charge it up, and start wearing it for at least a week. I like to see the data that it generates and it keeps me accountable during times when I think I've been slacking on my cardio or movement in general. Needless to say this week was one of the weeks that I wore the Fitbit.

By wearing my Fitbit it encourages my clients, many of which have one as well, to wear theirs to stay accountable with their exercise and movement. That's my secondary reason, to set a good example for my clients. As a personal trainer you have to be kind of a control freak in order for your clients to get the results they want. So the Fitbittechnology has helped me keep my clients accountable outside of the 1 to 3 hours I see them per week.

With me wearing my Fitbit this week it's brought up conversations with my clients as far as its technology and where indeed wearable tech it's going. Wearable tech companies want to link up with these big insurance companies and have corporations enforce their employees to wear their gadget in order to keep people accountable, keep people healthy, and at the end of the day lower insurance rates. CEO of Fitbit James Park went on Jim Cramer's Mad Money this week and said this exact thing. Calling it the "Holy Grail" for its wearable tech. James Park stated it's just a matter of time until this happens. Watch Interview

Some corporate wellness programs have stated the drastic health improvements and increase in movement and exercise when employees were issued Fitbits. A handful of my clients have been issued Fitbits or pedometers by their employers to potentially lowerrates on their insurance if they reach a certain step count. A few of these people have given me a headaches in the past when I tried to get them to increase their cardio.  Guess what?  As soon as they were motivated by their employer and the reward for a lower insurance rate they were walking more and performing cardio daily!  Out of this small group they have all kept this up for over a year. 

I see a great benefit with big corporations/insurance companies issuing pedometers or wearable tech like Fitbit. However, some people do not see it as a positive. Some state it's un-American to be charged a higher rate of insurance because you don't move or are not in shape. That private health information shouldn't be open basically for the whole world to see.  Even with the social media world we live in,  there is still a big majority of people who want to remain private. They don't want their movement numbers, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more exposed to their place of work and insurance company. 

I'm torn between these two schools of thought because 'A', I'm a health advocate and it's my profession to get people into shape, but 'B' I'm also a very private person and can see the drawbacks of having health information displayed to your employer and insurance company. Can they or will they fire you for not moving enough? Can they or will they fire you if your blood pressure gets too high? This sounds crazy now, but with healthcare prices skyrocketing this is a very possible question to ask ourselves in the future. 

Just like everything, the answer will probably be somewhere in the middle. Yes it provides great motivation and social accountability to its users, but there's going to be have to be some guidelines in which employers and insurance companies will need to follow before making these mandatory for it's employees to wear.

What's your opinion on this? Use the comment section below to state your opinion and your thoughts on this. Do you have experience using wearable tech? Do you feel your privacy and employment could be in jeopardy if you don't move or are healthy enough? Comment below.

Have a great week,

Mark Radio

Mark Radio is CPT through ACSM, certified nutritional counselor, and has a BA in Exercise Science. He is an Exercise Physiologist/Manager for Body Elite Inc. and owner of Hardcore Home Fitness, LLC.