Data overload, access and affordability limit patient monitoring technology

wearable smartwatch
Patient monitoring devices have potential, but widespread adoption is lagging.

Although some physicians see the potential in monitoring patients outside of the hospital or clinic, only a small portion of healthcare providers are using digital tools to track vital signs while patients are at home

That reluctance is associated with the overwhelming amount of data home health monitoring tools generate and the inability for some patients to purchase those devices, Joseph Kvedar, M.D. director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare told Marketplace. He estimated just 10% of providers are using home monitoring devices routinely.

RELATED: Unreliable wearable data puts physicians in a bind

Many physicians are intimidated by the amount of data that these devices generate and find it difficult to identify relevant information. A recent survey showed 94% of physicians are overwhelmed by useless data and many doctors have noted that data from wearable devices like Fitbit are often unreliable.  

But provider buy-in isn’t the only obstacle. Many patients who might benefit from home monitoring “don’t want to buy the cuff, can’t afford the cuff, don’t even know what it means to download an app,” Kvedar told Marketplace.

RELATED: HIMSS 2017: Telehealth, remote monitoring and home care help providers meet patients where they are

Others have pointed out that more patients are bringing their health data with them to the doctor’s office hoping it can be useful for physicians. A recent survey showed more than half of patients bring patient-generated data to their doctor.

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