Technology

Best Practices for Wearables

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) have released new guidance on the best practices for consumers who use wearable devices.1

The guidance includes survey data from consumers about the wearables they prefer, the data they want to track, and the biometric data that is collected by wearables.2

Lead author Nassir F. Marrouche, MD, who is a professor of medicine in the Section of Cardiology at the Heart & Vascular Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, answered our questions about the new guidance.

CONSULTANT360: The CTA and HRS released new joint recommendations on the best practices for consumers who use wearables. As the lead author of this guidance, can you tell us more about the recommendations and how they came about?

Nassir Marrouche: The pace of innovation with wearable technology is happening quickly, and the intersection with health is providing new solutions for chronic disease management, as well as empowering consumers to know more about their personal health. The authors provided recommendations that were simple yet impactful in controlling your health, focusing on prevention, knowing your data, and setting goals. The recommendations represent the consensus of a group of experts with diverse expertise and perspectives.

CON360: Wearable technology can continuously detect and monitor cardiovascular biometrics like blood pressure and pulse. How might these recommendations for consumers improve the medical data obtained from wearables?

NM: Wearables offer a new dimension to clinical monitoring, providing biometric data that is continuous; new iterations continue to improve the algorithms and accuracy of the data for clinical impact. Consumers should understand how to best use the technology, recognize their normal and abnormal states, and know when to consult with a clinician. Wearables support a clinician’s efforts by providing data over time in a more comprehensive way, adding to our perspective on the patient.  

CON360: Data from these wearables may help clinicians diagnose health conditions sooner and more accurately. But what about researchers—How might data from wearables impact medical research?

NM: Wearables already are a major part of clinical trials. Accessibility, continuous monitoring, and lower rates of clinic visits are major advantages of wearables integration into clinical trials. Already today many clinical trials are using such devices to track patients’ outcomes.

CON360: Some consumers might not like the idea of sharing their medical data in this way, even though it may improve their long-term health outcomes. How can clinicians ease their patients’ concerns about the ethics of health data sharing?

NM: A major concern that continues to be challenge for people and physicians. Nevertheless, surveys reveal that a majority of patients and consumers are willing to share their data for the benefit of science and to answer clinical questions. Physicians need to lead and encourage participation and data sharing, but also emphasize the need for data protection and safety.

CON360: The landscape of technology and wearables continues to change. How do you see the future of wearable technology in the context of cardiovascular medicine?

NM: The present and future of cardiovascular medicine is and will be well intertwined with wearables. We have never experienced a faster adoption of a medical device into patients’ care like the use of wearables. Multiple parties are pushing for this adoption: people (consumers and patients), industry giants, and providers.

 

References:

  1. CTA, HRS Unveil Recommendations for Managing Health With Wearables at CES 2020 [press release]. Las Vegas, NV: Heart Rhythm Society; January 9, 2020. https://www.hrsonline.org/CTA-HRS. Accessed January 9, 2020.
  2. Balbi A. HRS and CTA release consumer guidance for wearable devices [published online January 9, 2020]. Cardiology Consultant. https://www.consultant360.com/exclusive/cardiology/hrs-and-cta-release-consumer-guidance-wearable-devices.

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