High price tag a hurdle to wearables ubiquity

Despite the rise in use and overall increased interest mHealth wearables, often the patients who would most benefit from using the tools are unable to get access to them, according to a recent contributed post in Forbes.

The reason is two-fold, according to the report: insurance doesn't yet cover the devices and many cost too much for people to pay for them out of pocket. It's almost a Catch-22 scenario, as greater adoption likely would prove a high return on investment, which could, in theory, drive providers to deploy and support such tools, Rock Health Strategy Manager Teresa Wang said.

However, employers are starting to see the benefit of offering mHealth devices to employees as part of wellness programs, which may help increase use of the devices. For instance, Barclays is one of 20 companies to recently sign on to bring Fitbits to their employees, buying the wearables company's devices in bulk, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

Another action that could drive greater user adoption, according to the post in Forbes, would be for wearables companies to produce lines of devices that are less expensive than some of the more sophisticated wearables they offer.

"It's easier to build a market when you're going after early adopters and people who can afford it or are getting the device as part of a large corporate wellness campaign," Iana Simeonov, of the Public Health Institute, said. "But there is an immense population that suffers from all sorts of chronic health issues and need nutritional or physical activity advice that's been left out."

John Patrick, M.D., a former IBM vice president of internet technology, believes consumer interest and device innovation will jump once device capabilities prove more compelling, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported. 

For more information:
- read the Forbes contributed post

Related Articles:
Large employers increasingly buying Fitbits in bulk for employees
Apple, Fitbit battling for 'wearables' market supremacy
Not all mHealth activity trackers are created equal, study finds
Fitbit IPO, wearable shipments exceed expectations for mHealth's impact
mHealth capabilities will drive big use, consumer interest

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