Shaping Healthy Behaviors Through Connected Fitness

Healthy wearable technologyHaving just recently completed our work on the nationwide Electronic Health Records Awareness campaign, I came to SXSW 2014 with a more narrow learning focus – to gain new insights into the advancements of wearable technologies and their impact on personal health management.

I’m happy to report that several wearable technology makers are getting closer and closer to increasing the relevancy and practicality of these products for everyday consumers.

Benefits of Connected Fitness Expanding to General Market

Much like the Internet and smartphone, this new transformative technology evolution has arrived and early adopters, like athletic competitors, are well aware of the usages and benefits these platforms provide. Companies, such as MapMyFitness, FitBit, FitBug and Notch, are already in the works to develop these products to the masses.

In fact, MapMyFitness, the leader in connected fitness and recently acquired by UnderArmour in December 2013, now supports more than 20 million users since it launched in 2007. Wearable technology’s importance is growing, as Atlas Wearables walked away as the winner in this year’s SXSW Next Stage competition.

Arthur Markman, Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas, spoke at the SXSW 2014 Interactive session, Connected Fitness 2.0: Shaping Healthy Behaviors, where he pointed out that the quantified self is not just for data junkies anymore, rather a new movement for raising awareness to truly change health behaviors for the unhealthy is here.

With a new kind of mobile and social media awareness component, Markman stated that the next generation of connected health is moving from simple data analysis to personalized prescriptive actions. Turning this data into actionable insights at the provider-patient ‘teachable moment’ is truly the next education phase these product makers must work to solve.

Panelist Martha Wofford, Vice President and Head of CarePass at Aetna, said that the power of social motivation and using it’s small data is what’s becoming so motivational to most. That way, your personal data begins to tell a story of your health history and progress being made over time.

Why a Holistic Picture of Our Health Matters

Much like the benefits of electronic health records, these connected devices give us a more complete picture of our whole health with an end goal of actually keeping people out of hospitals.

Over time, with the help of connected fitness for anyone at any fitness level, diseases can better be prevented before they arise. There will ultimately be better experiences for patients and caregivers who can still live at their own familiar setting that may accelerate the recovery.

Much like electronic health records and the Health IT movement, the potential of wearable technology in the healthcare industry is immense.

Digital marketers must keep up with the developments in this industry in order to interpret their relevancy towards each target audience group.