Columbus, Ohio— Gartner recently predicted that by 2020, developed world life expectancy will increase by 0.5 years due to widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology.1

It’s in Our Hands

We’ve seen life expectancy increase before as a result of technology, but this is a little different. It’s not a $1.2 million Open MRI machine or a $2 million da Vinci Surgical Robotics system. It’s in our hands, quite literally. Apps, sensors, patches, wearables—all mechanisms of collecting data for monitoring that are consumer goods.

No Treadmill Required?

We have always had the ability to impact our own life expectancy. Eat right, exercise, drink in moderation (maybe you’ve heard the spiel?). But, we’re human and what we should do and what we actually do aren’t always one in the same. However, downloading an app, or wearing a patch or a certain article of clothing requires less commitment, less work, less sacrifice than running on a treadmill three hours a week or getting your family to eat Swiss chard over pizza, right? Where do I sign up?

While the statistic implies that the sheer existence of the technology will increase the life expectancy, there is undoubtedly some dependency on the behavior change that occurs as a result of the data. What can we learn from our roller coaster relationship with activity trackers like Fitbit? While they changed the lives of some, for others they lost purpose and we saw abandonment rates reach over 50%2. Knowing that it has the potential to lengthen their lives, will people latch on to health monitoring as readily as predicted? And will they actually change behavior?

The Next 5 Years

Health monitoring tools will get more sophisticated in the type of health data they provide–far beyond the vitals. And we’ll also see a change in they way information is delivered back to the user–an evolution from raw data to meaningful insights. As our world becomes even more digitally connected, these insights will be able to be delivered at the right time to impact change. And, monitoring tools will move from primarily self-tracking tools to shared tracking tools between doctor and patient, or patient and caregiver. As health monitoring becomes smarter, more integrated, and more actionable in our lives, we’ll be living longer for it.

See also HXP article, Pharma’s New Competition: Digital Health.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.