Consumers who are neither fitness freaks nor chronically ill are willing to pay for health-monitoring gadgets, according to a new IBM study.
Devices smaller than a cell phone will
allow people to monitor their health within the next five years and consumers
will be willing to pay for them, according to a new study by IBM's Institute
for Business Value.
The institute performs studies for
senior executives on major public and private sector issues.
For its report "The Future of Connected Health Devices
surveyed more than 1,300 users of wireless health-monitoring devices. It also
interviewed consumer electronics companies and medical device makers.
The company studied how
"information seekers," those people in between fitness enthusiasts
and the chronically ill, can manage their health. This middle group wants to
manage their health but stay independent.
They are generally healthy but need
assistance leading even healthier lives. They aim to maintain their health and
limit visits to doctors, IBM reports.
"They have some kind of condition
but are relatively healthy," Heather Fraser, co-author of the report and
global lead for life sciences and distribution at the IBM Institute for
Business Value, told eWEEK. "They just want to keep that condition at
Information seekers could also be
healthy but have a family history of illness, or they may be cancer survivors who
are now recovered but need to manage their condition.
One factor motivating people to manage
their health with these devices on a regular basis will be to keep their health
care costs down, according to the report, released on June 27.
People will use the devices to monitor
their diet, care for the elderly, manage high blood pressure and help quit
smoking, IBM reports. The devices will allow people to maintain independence and
mobility and communicate data in real time to caregivers
and doctors. These wellness devices
may connect to a PC, gaming device, tablet or smartphone.
The survey found that 86 percent of
respondents demand simplicity for these devices, according to IBM. Furthermore,
although consumers are willing to pay for the health tracking devices,
three-quarters of respondents expect a reasonable price of $100 or less, IBM
Device interoperability will be a key
factor in whether or not they take off in the market, according to IBM. The Continua
is helping to bring about great collaboration among
consumer electronics, life science and technology companies to explore these
technology and market issues, Fraser, a pharmacist, said.
Continua is a nonprofit organization of
health care and technology companies that aims to create compatibility for home
"As the health care market
continues to grow, we envision a marketplace of products, devices and services
that empower consumers to better care for themselves and to connect seamlessly
with their health care providers," Chuck Parker, executive director of
Continua, said in a statement.
"The collaboration of companies
within the health care industry is essential in creating these new reliable,
cost-effective personal health solutions," Parker said.
Users will share health data from these
devices on social networking services such as Facebook, especially those
contacts with similar issues, according to Fraser.