Beware free fitness trackers

Many millions of Americans now use wearable fitness devices that track personal information such as sleep patterns, steps, heart rate, exercise patterns. And here is the key stat: “6 million workers worldwide will receive wearable fitness trackers as part of workplace wellness programs. That's up from about 2 million in 2016…” So who is paying for these trackers and to what purpose? Workplace wellness programs offer free or discounted trackers and additional financial incentives up to thousands of dollars per year, reports NPR. Insurers such as UnitedHealthcare and Oscar are examples. These companies say the motive behind the trackers is basically “Healthy workers should cost the insurer less and can be more productive.” Other insurers have discovered that people using trackers are more likely to engage in other beneficial services such as telemedicine. However, it is not yet definitively proven that wearing a fitness tracker contribute to better health and lower health costs. Of greater concern, no one knows how the sponsoring companies are really using the data captured by the trackers. Large incentives for a patient may also be an indication that the tracker data has value and uses beyond the person’s health. Read carefully how the data is being used, beware and be skeptical.

Read: As Insurers Offer Discounts For Fitness Trackers, Wearers Should Step With Caution

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