Accuracy concerns could give provider pause about using data from consumer wearables

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This week we report on a study that found a dozen wearables aren't producing reliable or accurate data when it comes to energy expenditure tracking--and it's unfortunate news for patients and consumers who are looking to these devices to stay fit and lose weight.

However, it also could prove unfortunate for some health provider care efforts.

For the study, researchers examined wearable devices, such as Fitbits and Garmin armbands, to see how they compared to traditional metabolic chamber and water methods. They found widely varying results.

For consumers, that means the time, effort and costs sunk into monitoring health vitals may not always be worth it, especially if the data is not accurate.

For hospitals and doctors, it could mean that data they assume could be helpful in making care decisions may be the opposite.

While providers don't rely solely on a consumer's wearable data, given the growing use of wearables by consumers, acceptance of data collected through such tools has grown; studies like this, however, could cause some to think twice about consuming fitness device information. 

The study should serve as a wakeup call to remind all users of mobile health and wearable tools that much work remains when it comes to data verification.

This is especially true given last week's debut of Apple CareKit, which has the potential to spur even greater health app and wearable adoption. CareKit will allow hospitals, health systems and developers to build apps to better manage patients' health.

While all the advancements in healthcare and fitness technology are great, without accurate and reliable information, they're all for naught. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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