Health promotion and financial incentives key to improving uptake of digital health wearable devices

A picture of a digital watch

Two out of three Americans would be willing to use digital wearable devices to track health as part of health insurance wellness programs, according to new research co-authored by Eric Ding, visiting scientist in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition and a health economist with General Dynamics Information Technology.

The study surveyed 997 Americans across 46 states and presented several scenarios for them to consider in determining whether they’d be willing to use a digital health wearable tracking device. The researchers found that the most significant natural motivators for consumers to adopt the use of digital wearable devices included the promotion of healthy behaviors, disease prevention, and the possibility of early disease detection. And while study participants were somewhat skeptical about issues pertaining to having their personal health information tracked and how insurance underwriters may use the information, the researchers found that the majority of participants were still willing to adopt wearables, under many financial, data privacy and accuracy-related conditions.

Furthermore, in each of the scenarios that study participants were presented with, financial incentives—including cash compensation, insurance premium discounts, and discounts on wellness products—were found to increase the willingness to adopt wearables for participation in many programs.

Read the study: Willingness to adopt wearable devices with behavioral and economic incentives by health insurance wellness programs: results of a US cross-sectional survey with multiple consumer health vignettes

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