Despite growing consumer adoption of wearable devices, one of the groups with the most to gain – the healthcare industry – is still largely ill-prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

In an online survey we conducted in September in partnership with Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide and OgilvyRED, just 5% of respondents indicated that their organizations were “very prepared” to develop patient insight from emerging data sources like wearables.

Nearly a quarter (23%) indicated their organizations were “very unprepared” and nearly half (43%) called their organizations “unprepared.”

As such, it’s not surprising that a minority of healthcare organizations are actually making use of wearables.

Just 25% of survey respondents said their organizations are using data from medical devices, and even fewer (11%) indicated their organizations are collecting data from consumer wearables.

Given that customer experience was cited by nearly 20% of respondents as being the most exciting opportunity in their industry, the lack of an ability to collect data from emerging sources like wearables could be increasingly problematic as organizations seek to better serve their patients.

This is due, in part, to the heavy reliance on sources of data that are prone to quality issues.

Despite the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) and point of care devices, for instance, the most commonly used source of data, point of care human input data, is the least accurate.

A bright spot

It’s far from likely that healthcare organizations will equip themselves to take advantage of new data sources overnight, but the opportunities are clearly on the radar. 

52% of respondents felt the availability of new sources of data about patient behavior and treatment efficacy would have an impact on healthcare marketing over the next two years and more specifically, 17% indicated that the growth of connected devices, including wearables, would be a primary driver of innovation in healthcare marketing.

The good news for healthcare organizations is that once they develop strategies to incorporate this data, many will be in a good position to execute.

Nearly half of those polled said their organizations were capable of collecting very high volumes of data rapidly and two-thirds indicated their organizations can collect very high volumes of data securely.

Right now the market for wearables, while widely talked about, is still fairly nascent. Ecosystems are still forming and many of the most popular devices are still limited in functionality.

As the market matures, devices will become more capable, standards will emerge and the winners will become clear.

The healthcare organizations that track the market, experiment as it develops and prepare themselves for a future in which connected devices are ubiquitous will be in a position to deliver innovative, life-improving experiences to the patients they serve.