Wearable Health Trackers Can Motivate, But How Useful Is All This Data?

We’ve talked about it before. Fitbits and Fuelband and other health trackers are everywhere. People love them. They’re logging calories and steps and heart rate and, well, you name it.

Certainly, fitness trackers provide motivation (always a good thing) and may even help predict future health outcomes.

But who is actually looking at the information? For it to be helpful at all, someone—the user, a doctor, a healthcare provider, a fitness trainer—someone has to review all these data points and extract meaning from them. And as noted in this NPR report, sometimes the doctors can learn more about a patient’s health from doing an old-fashioned physical (and in less time!) than from reviewing all those digitally captured records.

Wearble trackers may likely evolve into useful and effective tools. But for now, the question has to be what does this technology DO today? It is basically useless if it isn’t doing something necessary, doing that thing better than the alternative, and providing new insights.

In other words, set aside the gadget fascination and cool factor long enough to determine how functional the device actually is. How do you do that? A good starting point is to ask these 10 questions when you are evaluating any of these products for yourself or your customers.

Hey, fitness trackers are cool, no doubt about it. But are they, in their current form, changing wellness, fitness or health? This seems to be the prevailing question and so far, there is no definitive answer.