Wearable owners see improved health and fitness

  • May 31, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Most owners of wearables experience improved health and fitness outcomes, but upfront costs prove to be a barrier for many, according to a survey by Washington-based Connected Health Initiative.

It conducted a national poll of Americans asking how they wear, share and pay for their wearable devices, following the surge in popularity of wearable health technology devices, including activity trackers, smartwatches and smart clothing.

More than 89 million Americans use a wearable device. Of those Americans using a wearable, most of them track their exercise and fitness (86 per cent), sleep (58 per cent), and weight (51 per cent). Of those Americans using a wearable, 37 per cent are managing a chronic condition.

Around 82 per cent of wearable health device owners currently or are willing to share this data with their healthcare provider. And 40 per cent of wearable health device owners with a chronic condition say their wearable device has simplified the management of their health, as well as improved their quality of life.

Millions of Americans have flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts (FSAs or HSAs), but they can’t use them to purchase modern health technology. These accounts mainly benefit middle-income earners. An estimated 70 million Americans are covered by HSA accounts alone, with approximately 78 per cent of account holders earning less than $100,000 annually, and 70 per cent earning between $30,000 and $90,000.

Fifty-seven percent of HSA and FSA participants without a wearable say they would be more likely to acquire one if their HSA or FSA covered it.

The Connected Health Initiative helps stakeholders across the connected health ecosystem responsibly encourage the use of digital health innovations and support an environment in which patients and consumers can see improvements in their health. It seeks policy changes that will help Americans benefit from an information and communications technology-enabled healthcare system.

This nationwide poll was conducted in April 2023 among a sample of 2204 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, race, educational attainment, region, gender by age, and race by educational attainment. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.