Fitness tracker data isn't much help to your doctor

By Shawn Knight ¬∑ 7 replies
Nov 24, 2015
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  1. Fitbit, Jawbone, Microsoft, Samsung and Xiaomi are just a few of the big names cashing in on the health and fitness tracking craze (heck, there’s even a fitness monitor for man’s best friend). While the data produced by such trackers can serve as motivation to get into shape and stay that way, some may be surprised to learn that the data will be of little value to your doctor.

    In a recent article from MIT Technology Review, Andrew Trister, an oncologist with Sage Bionetworks, said he’s seen some patients that come in with large Excel spreadsheets full of fitness tracker data and that he has no idea what to do with it. Neil Sehgal, a senior research scientist at the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation, tends to agree. Sehgal said clinicians can’t do a lot with the number of steps you’ve taken in a day.

    Worse yet, Sehgal and his colleagues have compared the data generated by consumer wearables against relevant clinical gold standards. In multiple studies over the past two years, they’ve determined that very few devices currently on the market are as reliable as data gathered from medical-grade devices.

    That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise considering almost all health-related wearable devices aren’t regulated in the same way that true medical-grade devices are. While that may be disheartening for some to learn, it’s not a total wash as Sehgal concludes that such devices are useful because they help people become more active.

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  2. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,272   +240

    So 'Fitness tracker data isn't much help to your doctor' but is much help to google via adverts? ;)
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    Fitness tracker != health monitor.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Snowden

    Snowden TS Member Posts: 68   +31

    So they are just fashion items of no intrinsic value. Well DURR! I'm sick of people saying to me "I did 5000 steps today". Sounds more like they are doing an AA power-course.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,269

    Of course that data wouldn't be of any interest to your quack, or at least it shouldn't. If it did I'd change my physician in a heartbeat (no pun intended). Those gadgets data is merely for the consumers edification and delight.
    Arris likes this.
  6. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 327   +185

    How long until they are though? 5 years? 10 years? Today they count your steps, in a few years it keeps track of all kinds of vital statistics and information. This technology will explode in the coming decade.
  7. Jeff Re

    Jeff Re TS Enthusiast Posts: 34   +12

    I've rarely seen a doctor that was of any use.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    Then you need to find better doctors.

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