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Wearables tracking more than heart rate

September 8, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Tech companies and health care convened at MedCity’s CONVERGE conference to discuss a hot topic: wearable and other smart devices.

Apple Watch and Fitbits can do more than monitor vitals. The devices offer healthcare providers new ways to care for patients.

Panelists from THREAD Research, Trinity Health, Neutun and Comcast Ventures discussed lessons learned from adopting the new technology – and what’s next.

Neutun has developed a smart watches sensor to help people with epilepsy track the frequency of their seizures. Not everyone is willing or ready to adopt, and Eric Dolan, CEO and co-founder of Neutun, says some people want to use their smartphone instead of a device that could easily be forgotten on the nightstand. (Accuracy is the big argument for a separate device.)

Michael Yang, a managing director with Comcast Ventures, drew criticism from his comments about data security. People fear their devices being hacked and data stolen. It’s a concern for all connected devices. But people should be more afraid of someone hacking a car than their Fitbit.

“If I hack into your car, that’s dangerous for you,” Yang says. “If I can hack into your home when you’re out and your kids are there – that’s scary. But what am I going to do with your steps? What am I going to do with your weight?”

Yang took to Twitter later to clarify he meant to frame the concern in the bigger picture – and to not let data security stand in the way of improving outcomes for patient care.