NEW YORK (MarketWatch)—With Apple unveiling a glorified fitness band this week, the world has moved yet another step closer to personalized health care—and it could one day have many of us donning fitness trackers at work.
More than 13 million health and fitness tracking devices such as Fitbit, FitLinxx and Apple Watch are expected to be introduced into the workplace by 2018 as employers adopt incentivized wellness programs to tackle rising health care costs, according to a study by Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
“Tracker information will become part of your health record,” said Nancy Green, global practice lead for health care at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. It will be a powerful tool for employers and health-care professionals as data becomes usable and actionable, she said.
Many companies already offer incentivized programs such as anti-smoking campaigns and free fitness rooms. But with employer insurance costs rising, including a projected 5.8% this year, according to Towers Watson, corporate wellness services revenues are expected to grow in parallel—by an annualized rate of 8.8% over five years, to $11.3 billion by 2019, according to IBISWorld.
Companies “have a very large vested interest to make sure you’re healthy,” Green said.
All of this may mean more fitness trackers at work, the tracking of employee activity data, the building of yoga studios in offices and the hiring of in-house doctors to run office health clinics, said Malay Gandhi, managing director of health-focused venture-capital firm Rock Health.
“It’s an advantage to make employees as productive as possible,” Gandhi said.