Older patients accepting of wearable medical devices

Older patients are mostly accepting of wearable activity trackers and understand the value the device could have in improving their health, according to a study published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.

Wearable technology has grown in popularity in recent years and physicians have been using these technologies to improves patient engagement and data collection. However, data on the attitudes toward wearable devices and the acceptance in using them in older populations is unknown. In this study, researchers evaluate the experience of older patients using wearable fitness trackers to identify patient acceptance and usability.

The study enrolled 20 patients aged 55 and older and provided them with two different wearables, the Xiaomi Mi Band and Microsoft Band. Participants used each device for a 21-day trial and completed a questionnaire regarding their experience following each trail.  

Results identified five main themes in attitudes toward wearable fitness trackers which included: smartphones as facilitators of wearable activity trackers; privacy is less of a concern; self-awareness and motivation, social support and a sense of independence; and equipment characteristic matter.

"Older adults were mostly accepting of wearable activity trackers, and they had a clear understanding of its value for their lives. Wearable activity trackers were uniquely considered more personal than other types of technologies, thereby the equipment characteristics including comfort, aesthetics, and price had a significant impact on the acceptance," concluded first author Concetta Irace, MD, PhD and colleagues. “Results indicated that privacy was less of concern for older adults, but it may have stemmed from a lack of understanding of the privacy risks and implications. These findings add to emerging research that investigates acceptance and factors that may influence acceptance of wearable activity trackers among older adults.”