Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers, of Health Behavior Change

February 3, 2015 JAMA

Mitesh S. Patel, MD, MBA, MS1; David A. Asch, MD, MBA; Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD

Ref: JAMA. 2015;313(5):459-460. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.14781.

This Viewpoint discusses issues that prevent wearable medical devices from effectively bridging the gap between recording information and changing health-related behavior.

Several large technology companies including Apple, Google, and Samsung are entering the expanding market of population health with the introduction of wearable devices. This technology, worn in clothing or accessories, is part of a larger movement often referred to as the “quantified self.” The notion is that by recording and reporting information about behaviors such as physical activity or sleep patterns, these devices can educate and motivate individuals toward better habits and better health. The gap between recording information and changing behavior is substantial, however, and while these devices are increasing in popularity, little evidence suggests that they are bridging that gap.

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