13M wearables to be used in corporate wellness plans by 2018

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 26, 2013        

Tags: | | | | |  |
Fitbit Zip Fitbit One

Wearable activity tracker Fitbit

Over the next five years, 13 million wearable devices embedded with wireless connectivity will be integrated into wellness plans offered by businesses, according to ABI research’s new report. In 2013, principal analyst Jonathan Collins said less than 200,000 wearable devices have been integrated into wellness plans.

The report factors in the social and economic drivers supporting the integration of wearable wireless device adoption, such as the point at which people start taking more responsibility in healthcare, Collins told MobiHealthNews.

“There’s certainly wider impetus to have patients not just see healthcare as a doctor but also as their daily life,” Collins said. “These devices are monitoring daily activity, social aspects around sharing that data or pulling that data across health groups.”

The report accounted for white label devices as well as direct to consumer devices like those made by FitBit, BodyMedia, and FitLinxx.

“While some device vendors are hoping that strong consumer awareness will drive corporate wellness adoption for their products, they also need to understand and focus on the most influential parts of the healthcare value chain,” Collins said.

Over the past few months, there have been quite a few announcements about wearable integration with and other updates regarding employee wellness plans. Earlier this month, Virgin HealthMiles, a gamified employee wellness program, announced that, starting in October, it will let employees invite up to three family members to use the program for free. Between adding family members and drawing in new members because of the perk, Virgin HealthMiles said the company expects its user base to see a big boost in the next year. A few weeks after this announcement, Virgin HealthMiles added Fitbit integration to its online employee health offering. The company also plans to launch its own new device at CES.

In June, three other employee wellness announcements were made. First, Jiff, best known for its JiffPad patient education platform, announced a partnership with Towers Watson and a pivot from provider-focused patient engagement to business-to-business employee wellness curation, with a service called Health Outcomes Marketplace. A week later, Mayo Clinic announced last week a new online platform called Mayo Clinic Healthy Living that will leverage mobile health tools to provide preventative care to employees of Mayo’s B2B employer clients. The company plans to launch the product in October. At the end of the month, corporate wellness platform Keas raised $8 million and also partnered with Fitbit.