Wearables fitness and activity tracking for seniors — nowhere in mHealth

Wearables – they’re all the rage now. A $ 1.5 billion market by 2014, or maybe $ 6 billion by 2016. That number includes products that are not yet on the market like Google Glass which is due out late 2013 or early 2014. Pogue describes a prototype which has packed “memory, a processor, a camera, speaker and microphone, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a battery, all inside the earpiece.” Good luck to us unlucky enough to be in a car while you are enjoying this power. Today's texting distractions have drivers swiveling all over the highways, walkers slamming into telephone poles and joggers tripping over tree roots.

Find a practical use with older adults. Wearable fitness devices, like Fitbit and Nike+ are here today, maybe 80+ million of these $ 60 – $ 100 devices out there, they are part of this $ 1.5 billion market. We know that exercise boosts health of older adults — so says the NIH and every other health site. So no one argues about that. But none of those sites talk about the use of motivating technologies like these and how they can help get folks up and out, in competition with themselves and with others. Here is where I see a market for boomers and seniors – and so far, there are no attempts to capitalize on these possibilities that I can detect by resellers, apps vendors, or those already in the senior wellness space.

Since hinting doesn’t seem to be helping so let’s spell it out – and provide a link to the developer forum where research initiatives are posted, along with new apps for these devices that are cheaper than smart phones:

Sadly, mHealth, co-opted by Health IT, will miss the consumer activity tracker trend. If I study the agenda for the upcoming mHealth Summit, it is obvious that when HIMSS acquired the event, it now has the Health IT spin (care delivery technology, systems and information for the medical community) that HIMSS created and owns. While the wearable market may be $ 1.5 billion by 2014, health informatics should already be a $ 6 billion market and EMR — a . Sweeping them all into one big Health IT bucket – that's a lot of money. That's so good for traditional healthcare tech vendors, appealing one-stop shopping for health providers like hospitals and medical practices, and of course, it is an outstanding win for consultants who are already experts in the world of McKesson, Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, etc. So I predict (this one is easy) that these folk will be no more interested in applications of low-priced activity trackers than they are interested in seniors. Which is to say, unless the senior is a patient in a healthcare, EMR-deploying system, their activity on the way into or out of the building is outside the diagnostic vision of their (XYZ)scope.

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