Mobile fitness trackers are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Parks Associates approximated that 13.6 million fitness trackers were sold in 2013 and project 121 million to be sold in 2018. A Stanford University School of Medicine article, Integrating Mobile Fitness Trackers Into the Practice of Medicine, highlights interests among physicians and other healthcare professionals about utilizing personal fitness tracking data collected with these devices to help them improve and customize patient care during and between doctors’ visits. The benefits of such technologies are encouraging, however the limitations must be reduced before clinical applications can be widely adopted.
Benefits of mobile fitness trackers:
+ Users are motivated to adopt a healthier lifestyle
+ Social networks linked with devices provide platforms for like-minded users to connect
+ Environments of sustainability and accountability are established enabling users to reach and maintain health goals
Limitations of mobile fitness trackers:
– Devices are not regulated by any one organization or agency
– Accuracy of measurements are unconfirmed
– Measurement metrics (e.g. number of steps) may not reflect true health status
As either a user of fitness trackers or a healthcare professional, what are other benefits and limitations you have noticed and how do you see fitness trackers being used in the future?
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