With the push of a button, today’s wearable devices provide us with more information about our bodies than ever before. This technology can help you make healthier choices, by monitoring stress levels, tracking sleep patterns, and motivating you to exercise. Some devices are even sophisticated enough to perform wireless electrocardiograms (EKGs) in real-time.
But what does this mean for you and your brand new wearable? “While the data quality and accuracy are quite high,” said Matthew Anderson, MD, a Banner Health medical director and innovation lead physician, “the true benefit of today’s wearable technology is really being able to use that data to develop actionable plans to reach your goals.”
Schedule an Appointment with Your Physician
Dr. Anderson explained the key to getting the most out of your wearable technology is scheduling an appointment to go over the data with your physician. Once you’ve done that, making sure your goals are the total focus of the appointment is key.
“Don’t try to lump a discussion of your fitness tracking goals onto the end of your annual physical,” Dr. Anderson explained. “Wearable technology can help improve the chronic diseases you might be discussing, like diabetes or heart disease, but you will want to devote an entire appointment to discussing and developing your goals.”
Your physician will likely ask you to use the tracker for a while before the appointment, typically a few weeks or a month, to get a sense of your current health. This baseline data could include anything from your weight, to the number of steps you take in a day, to your resting heart rate.
Once the two of you have determined appropriate goals and developed a plan, you’ll use the fitness tracker to generate health data for another predetermined amount of time, likely closer to 3-6 months. “Using a wearable for a prescribed period of time is the best way to attack your goals and develop healthy habits,” said Dr. Anderson. “Going for long periods without tying the measured data to specific goals tends to be less effective, as it can lead to alarm fatigue.”
Dr. Anderson encourages you to find ways to keep an open dialog with your physician to keep your goals top of mind. The more you and your doctor continue to work together to fine-tune your goals in tandem with the data your wearable provides, the more you will be able to achieve.
Are you ready to kickstart healthy living with your new wearable technology? Schedule your baseline appointment with a Banner Health expert today.