I’ve touched on the topic of technology and its impact on humanity and civilization before on my other websites, but never on this site. Today I’ll be talking about a very important factor that technology is impacting: health. The rapid advancement of technology and rise in its popularity has allowed virtually every industry in the world to feel its impact and healthcare has been the beneficiary of some of the most far reaching changes.
In recent years, wearable technology has become incredibly popular. These usually come in the form of watches or wristbands that can accomplish several different functions such as notification management, media control and even making and receiving phone calls. These devices are also used to track fitness and health goals. Calories burned, distance traveled and heart rates can all be monitored with devices such as Apple Watches, Samsung Gears and Fitbits. The industry is expected to balloon to a whopping $34 billion in revenue. This has put health and, more importantly, healthcare, on everyone’s minds. People care more about their health, and employers are taking note.
Healthcare is in a bad spot. Far too many people look at retroactive healthcare, where programs or insurance plans wait until after we have become ill to take any action. We are now starting to realize that proactive healthcare offers far more benefits. Logically speaking, if your employees are healthy, then they will not need to utilize their insurance plans; offering proactive, employee wellness programs can be an immediate boon to any company. Statistics show that, in the United States, the costs of work-related injuries or illnesses, stress and employee disengagement account for more than $2.2 trillion each year. Employee productivity can be drastically hurt by injuries and sickness. On the other hand, the United States corporate wellness industry has grown by $7.8 billion just last year and is expected to grow even larger by 2021.
Wellness programs are making a major change in productivity and revenue. For example, between 2009 and 2014 companies that had effective wellness programs outperformed the S&P 500 Index with a 235% stock price increase compared to 159% for the index. Major companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Marriott have saved millions in healthcare costs by focusing on wellness programs that benefit employees and are proactive in preventing illness or injury. Other companies have turned to third-party organizations that assist in creating sustainable health programs for employees, such as LifeDojo, in order to ingrain a healthier lifestyle in their employees.
Today’s wearable technology absolutely assists in maintaining these healthy lifestyles. LifeDojo stresses a focus on healthy eating, exercise and stress-reduction, which are all things that wearable technology can help to guide and monitor. Almost all of today’s wearable tech can track your calorie intake for food consumption and the number of calories you’ve burned, they can help plan workouts and provide fitness goals and suggestions, and some devices, like the Apple Watch, can actually remind you to breathe and reduce your stress.
We can take advantage of this technology to better ourselves and our employees. Companies can stress the use of these wearable technologies and their correlation with health and wellness programs in order to decrease work-related injuries or illnesses, increase productivity and decrease costs. Please feel free to contact me for more information about the integration of healthcare and technology in the corporate arena.