Skip to content Skip to navigation

New Study Debunks Common Wearables Beliefs

November 22, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Wearables can be effective tools to engage employees in their health and encourage healthy behavior change, according to study from Jiff, a Mountain View, Calif.-based technology company with an enterprise health benefits platform.

The data comes from an expansive two-year study on employer-sponsored wearables. The findings challenge two common employer concerns about these types of programs: that participation is limited to young and healthy employees, and that engagement is not sustainable over time. The data builds off a webinar that Jiff co-hosted in October with Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory company, on the same topic. Jiff’s dataset, one of the largest of its kind publicly released, suggests that wearables can be a valuable tool for employee health, its officials said.

The data from 14 large employers and 240,000 employees shows wearable adoption and long-term engagement from employees of all ages. Employers offering a wearables program through Jiff’s platform saw: more than half (53 percent) of employees under 40 years-old participate, and more than one-third (36 percent) of employees over 50 years-old participate as well; no measurable decline in engagement for more than nine months following the program rollout; and for one employer, found levels of engagement that have been progressively increasing for more than 18 months.

Employers have shown growing interest in wearables and are increasingly including them in their employee health and wellbeing strategies. According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey, nearly one out of three large employers offered employees wearable devices for tracking physical activity.

However, many skeptics fear that wearables’ impact may be muted.  One common concern is that only young and healthy employees will adopt wearables, rather than older and less healthy employees who actually drive the majority of healthcare costs. Another concern is that employees will lose interest in wearables and stop using them after only a few months. Jiff’s study sought to address each of these two major concerns.

Indeed, Jiff’s recent data challenges these two common wearables beliefs. According to Jiff, the secret to sustaining engagement in wearables can be found in three simple tactics that are readily available to most employers. The first is “challenges,” or time-bound immersive and social games that encourage healthy actions. Second is “device credits,” or employer subsidies to offset the cost of purchasing devices. And third is “behavioral incentives,” or rewards for taking healthy actions, such as walking a minimum number of steps per day. Jiff’s data found that each one of these levers can make a significant impact

“Wearables have tremendous potential to improve employee health, but many employers remain skeptical,” Derek Newell, CEO of Jiff, said in a statement. “At Jiff, we are uniquely positioned to address employer questions about wearables because we collect data from dozens of device vendors and large employers. In reviewing nearly two years of Jiff data from more than 240,000 employees, we found evidence that, when done right, wearables can be an effective tool to engage employees in their health.”

Get the latest information on Mobile Health and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

IBM Security: Healthcare Cyber Attacks Prevalent, but Less Records Breached in ’16

A new report from IBM Security found that healthcare—not too long ago the most attacked industry by cyber criminals—fell out of the top five of most breached industries.

FBI Notification: Cyber Criminals Targeting FTP Servers to Compromise PHI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that cyber criminals are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers operating in “anonymous” mode and associated with medical and dental facilities to access protected health information (PHI).

Texas HIE Approved as CMS Qualified Registry

Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), a health information exchange (HIE) organization in San Antonio and surrounding Texas counties, has received clearance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to become a qualified registry.

Media Report: Evolent Health Exploring Merger with Advisory Board

Evolent Health, an Arlington, Va.-based healthcare technology provider, is exploring a potential combination with The Advisory Board, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare consulting firm, according to a report from Reuters published on Friday.

Urology Austin Falls Victim to Ransomware Attack, Alerts 200K Patients

The Texas-based Urology Austin has acknowledged that it fell victim to a ransomware attack in January, and has since notified some 200,000 patients that their information might have been breached.

University of Maryland Medical System Earns HIMSS Stage 6 Recognition

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), based in Baltimore, has achieved Stage 6 on HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) for the ambulatory environment.