The rapid adoption of connected mobile devices is enabling the shift from a sickcare nation to a preventative care nation – with big potential savings at stake. I believe health insurers before long will cut premiums for consumers who exercise and have a healthy diet, just as they discount auto insurance rate for safe drivers.
This monumental shift in the way Americans approach health care comes just in the nick of time: as a nation, we badly need a kick in the behind. More than two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese. According to one forecast, by 2020 more than half of us will be pre-diabetic or diabetic, creating a $500 billion annual drag on the economy.
But solutions are coming. And it starts with your mobile phone.
Apps And Wearables
Let’s take a closer look at the front lines of this coming consumer health revolution.
- By 2017, according to Research and Markets, half of the 3.4 billion smartphone or tablet users worldwide will use mobile health apps.
- I expect that by 2017, at least 30% of American consumers will regularly wear a device to track sleep, food, exercise, heart rate, blood pressure and even glucose passively and non-invasively.
- By 2017, according to ABI, the global market for wearables in health and fitness alone could reach 170 million devices.
Personalized and Mobile Medicine
Before long, all of those devices will be sending real-time data about you to your doctors, nutritionists and trainers. Subjective medical findings will be bolstered by cold, hard stats on the continuous state of your health. In short, we’re headed for a world of truly personalized medicine, practiced from a central hub in the cloud.
In the not-to-distant future, we will talk to our doctors more often via a mobile phone than in an office, saving time for patients and doctors alike. The result will be a more efficient system: By some estimates, 25-30% of today’s doctor visits could be replaced by phone, text, and digital check-ins.
Gamification will saturate fitness apps and devices, enticing teams of friends or coworkers to compete for points or trophies. You are seeing the beginnings of this movement on Fitocracy and at corporations like Yahoo, where CEO Marissa Mayer challenged her employees to a contest for the most miles walked. Strava members are addicted to getting to the top of the leaderboard for cycling and running and are willing to pay a monthly subscription to compete.