It's time to speak up, speak out about mHealth, wearables

Five to seven years ago the "fitness band--which provided insight on calories burned, steps taken and heart rate to users--was the gadget any health-minded individual wanted.

Fast forward a few years and those devices have become almost passé, with today's devices delivering more features than ever before. However, that also means consumers have become smarter about what they want when it comes to monitoring their health through a digital device. 

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, today's consumers want mHealth devices and apps to be easy to use, and they want to see benefits of use. They don't want their data shared without their consent, and if wearables aren't intuitive, beneficial or deemed safe, they're going to be left on the dresser or in the gym locker room.

With mHealth devices becoming more mainstream, it's time for patients' voices to be heard when it comes to development of the tools. And a new set of draft guidelines created to drive wearables development forward is giving them a chance to. 

The guidelines, created by a coalition including Microsoft, Vitality Institute and University of California San Diego, are for responsible use of wearables, smartwatches and mHealth apps. 

It's an opportunity for everyone in the mix--from users and device makers to lawmakers and app developers--to have a say and help drive wearable development forward. It's also an opportunity to address, debate and discuss how mobile health tools should look and work going forward.

The wearables guidelines offer up six recommendations for developers:

  1. Protect the privacy of a user's health data
  2. Clearly define who owns a user's health data
  3. Make it easy for users to accurately interpret their data
  4. Integrate validated scientific evidence into product design
  5. Incorporate evidence-based approaches to health behavior improvement
  6. Be accessible to marginalized populations

If you want your voice to be heard when it comes to your fitness devices and activity trackers, comment on the guidelines by Oct. 15.

It's a task for all of us in mHealth. It's a responsibility none of us should shirk. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)