Health care is undergoing a transition that might sound familiar to advisors who are watching the robo-advisor space: consumers using online tools and mobile devices to control more of their health on their own.
“There’s been a real interest in individuals becoming more self-directed when it comes to their health care,” Charles Teague, CEO of fitness app Lose It, told Investment Advisor in April. Ten years ago, health care consumers could visit a website like WebMD to learn more about a diagnosis or research symptoms on their own. Now, consumer-focused technology like wearables and apps allow them to make small but long-term changes.
For example, obesity “tends to co-exist with a whole set of medical conditions that are very expensive. That ranges from the really obvious ones like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, to orthopedic disease. It puts more strain on your back, it puts strain on your knees.”
There are limitations to weight tracking tools, of course—losing 20 pounds won’t remove the need for medication for someone with Type II diabetes—but “the thing with wearables is there’s a general trend to try to start taking better care of yourself and to originate that with yourself,” Teague said.
Obviously, those tools only work as well as consumers use them, though. Teague said that the goal is not getting users to track every step they take or calorie they eat, but to get to better health.