Caregivers tapping mHealth devices for emergency notification capabilities

Nearly half of U.S. caregivers residing in a broadband household are tapping a digital health device as part of their care-taking routine, with 8 percent using an electronic watch and another 8 percent using online tools, reveals a new Parks Associates' report, "360 View: Health Devices and Services for Connected Consumers 2014."

The report notes 44 percent of current and future caregivers expressed interest in using an electronic panic device for emergency incidents, and 30 percent find a smartwatch with a panic feature appealing, according to an announcement. Parks Associates expects 32 million consumers will be actively tracking personal health and fitness online or by mobile devices by 2016 and predicts connected trackers will account for 81 percent of digital fitness tracker sales by 2018, with 66 million units sold.

The increasing use of mHealth digital devices for home-based care reflects two trends: an increasing number of households featuring a caregiver and advancing technology that can help those in the role, according to the report.

"Among U.S. broadband households, 22 percent have a head of household who currently provides care for a family member or anticipates doing so in the near future," Harry Wang, director of Health & Mobile Product Research at Parks Associates, says in the announcement. He also notes that a wide range of innovative digital mHealth devices will arrive in 2015.

"These solutions will find strong interest among current caregivers, but they will also have high standards to meet in improving the ways caregivers can monitor their family members," he says.

Digital mHealth tools, including tablets, are proving to be useful and beneficial in boosting communication between patients and caregivers. A new study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine reveals secure messaging via smartphones between physicians, nurses and medical trainees can boost communication, enhance accountability in the clinical role and speed up daily tasks. And a Harvard Innovation Lab startup aims to bolster patient treatment by enhancing coordination and communication among caregivers via an mHealth app that will let healthcare teams text, share images and videos and have a patient list in quick reach.

The Parks Associate report notes, chronic conditions can serve as a motivation for adopting mHealth tools and age is not a factor in device utilization.

"With most technologies, there is a strong correlation between age and adoption--younger consumers are more enthusiastic about devices and services," according to the report.

"With health tech, other factors intervene. Older consumers are often more receptive to health tech because they have more health problems. Young consumers, on the other hand, may have only weak interest in health tech because they are not concerned about their health or are not seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. "

For more information:
- get the report
- read the announcement

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