The current landscape of wearable technology is one of the most exciting and rapidly changing fields in medicine, especially for the general consumer.1 The potential of capturing a wider and deeper range of personal health information is vast, allowing for changes in care to a more personalised approach across all therapy areas. Cardiology, in particular, is ripe ground for emerging technology, with mobile electrocardiograms, activity tracking and blood-pressure monitors now being included on many mainstream devices. Consumer interest in health tracking is continuing to rise, with increasing numbers of consumers wishing to monitor their blood pressure and stress, alongside heart health and blood sugar levels.
In this expert interview, Dr Nassir Marrouche introduces the new joint-issued consumer guidance on wearable devices from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), presented at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020, 7–10 January, Las Vegas, NV, USA.2
Q. What is the current landscape for wearables and what do you think are the future possibilities for this area of technology in medicine?
Digital health is changing lives for the better – providing more personalised care, delivering better outcomes and lowering costs. Wearable solutions are one of the fastest growing sectors in technology, and as more consumers capture personal health information, a cross industry-created guidance document has never been more important to provide clarity on the potential health and wellness benefits of wearables.
Q. What are the benefits of these advances in digital health and how do you think they will change the future of healthcare?
Chronic diseases are increasing in prevalence and wearables help people monitor their health to aid in earlier diagnosis and better management of their conditions; furthermore, they provide information to the user that fosters a healthier lifestyle.
Q. What is the background and rationale for the new Consumer Technology Association/Heart Rhythm Society consumer guidance on wearable devices, presented at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020?
The pace of innovation with wearable technology is happening quickly and the intersection with health is providing new solutions for chronic disease management, as well as empowering consumers to know more about their personal health. As a result, there was a demand for consumer guidance on the use of this new area of technology that is supported by recommendations from both innovators in technology but also medical experts. In this joint consumer guidance from both the CTA and the HRS, the authors have provided recommendations that were simple yet impactful in controlling your health, focusing on prevention, knowing your data and setting goals.2 The recommendations represent the consensus of a group of experts with diverse expertise and perspectives.
Q. What is the aim for the Consumer Technology Association/Heart Rhythm Society consumer guidance on wearable devices?
In this document, we aimed to highlight this new intersection between consumer technology and health. We want people to be aware of what these wearables have to offer, how they can increase knowledge about one’s health and how clinicians are optimistic about the data wearables can deliver.
Q. What is the main advice for consumers and healthcare practitioners from this document?
Key takeaways include how individuals can participate in their own health with wearables, how they can best manage the data provided and how to share data with their clinician, considerations when purchasing wearables, pros and cons; plus, we address frequently asked questions.