According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Wellocracy, the majority of Americans currently using wearable activity trackers or mobile apps share their personal health and wellness data with others. Further, most Americans reported that they want personalized feedback on their data and are willing to pay for it, especially from a trusted health expert, such as a doctor, nutritionist, or fitness trainer. Wellocracy, a free, online community created by the Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, offers unbiased, easy-to-understand information on new personal self-health technologies such as health and fitness trackers and mobile apps. Wellocracy empowers consumers to self-manage their health, create and maintain individual wellness goals, and achieve a greater quality of life.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans said they have used wearable activity trackers or apps on their smartphone or tablet during the past 12 months. Of those using wearable devices and apps, 72% reported sharing their personal health data with:

  • their family (46%)
  • a fitness trainer, doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional (34%)
  • friends and colleagues (33%)
  • their social media network (16%)

“The message is loud and clear. Consumers are embracing personal connected health technologies but want more than just charts and graphs showing how many steps they’ve walked, calories they’ve consumed, or hours of deep sleep they got last night. They crave expert guidance, feedback on their personal health data, and the knowledge that someone who cares is watching and encouraging their progress,” says Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, director, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, in a release. “We believe in the value of wearable devices and apps, but if they are going to be more than a passing fad, we need to include personalized motivation and feedback mechanisms to keep individuals engaged.”

The majority of those who have used a wearable tracker or app in the past 12 months (66%) indicated that they would be interested in receiving personalized feedback on their health data from a trusted health expert, such as a doctor, nutritionist, fitness trainer, or licensed lifestyle coach. Of those respondents:

  • 75% would be willing to pay for personalized feedback and coaching from a doctor
  • 79% would be willing to pay for personalized feedback and coaching from a fitness trainer
  • 73% would pay for personalized feedback and coaching from a nutritionist, nurse, or dietician

“There’s no doubt that wearable activity trackers and mobile apps are important new tools to help individuals better understand and manage their overall health,” Kvedar says. “However, we also know that it takes more than just counting our steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sharing personal health data with others, be it a doctor or social network, helps consumers to stay motivated, engaged, and on track to achieve their health and wellness goals.”

Research conducted at the Center for Connected Health, as well as other recent findings, confirm that wearable devices and apps can be effective only if the personal health data collected is relevant and supports a person’s individual motivation. “Many consumers respond to personal coaching and feedback, and desire devices that deliver data that is actionable and sharable. Without these features, health trackers will end up in a drawer after just a couple of weeks, a trend we are, unfortunately, seeing today,” Kvedar says.

Wellocracy delivers consumer-friendly information, expert guidance from leading clinicians, and unbiased opinions on personal health technologies. Wellocracy also applies behavioral science to help individuals find their “stickiness factor,” that is, the specific motivation that inspires each of us to stay on track to achieve health and wellness goals.