Wearables are already impacting the healthcare industry, and here’s how

The advent of wearable technology has managed to turn just about everyone into their own physician — to a certain extent, at least. With the ubiquity of fitness trackers that promise to keep tabs on your heart rate, your sleep cycles, and your overall well-being, it’s no surprise that the healthcare industry has been one of the most heavily impacted by the wearable boom.

Already, one in five Americans owns a wearable tech device, and even more surprising still, 56 percent of those with these trackers believe that their average life expectancy has increased by a decade thanks to their ability to monitor their vital signs on a daily basis. And now, researchers at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies have taken a closer look at just how wearables are revolutionizing health care services. 

According to the study’s findings, there exists a stunning 44-percent decrease in sick days for employees who don wearables on a daily basis. Experts estimate that if this trend should continue, over the next 25 years, wearables could help cut hospital costs by way of remote patient monitoring, saving the healthcare industry some $200 billion. Indeed, a three-year study of insurance company Humana shows that employees who use wearables have saved 18 percent on health care already. 

Related: This app lets you pick the healthcare you need instead of giving you a one-size-fits-all plan

Much of the motivation behind the adoption appears to be weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, both of which appear to be motivating more consumers to jump on the wearables bandwagon. In a recent survey conducted by Insurance Journal, 63 percent of insurance industry executives believe wearables will be widely adopted by the industry within the next two years, as long-term benefits could include things like real-time payment adjustments, eliminating the need for annual payment adjustments; and discouraging unhealthy activities, which could lower an individual’s overall healthcare costs.

Given these benefits, it’s no wonder that experts believe that the market for wearables is expected to grow to an astounding 411 million units by 2020. So if you’re not yet tracking your fitness on your wrist, you may want to reconsider.

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