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ABI Research: Wearable devices driving participation in corporate wellness programs


NEW YORK - The combined efforts of wearable device manufacturers and health insurance providers will help push more than 44 million wearable devices into wellness plans over the next five years, ABI Research noted in a release Monday.

"Though $6 billion is spent on corporate wellness in the U.S. alone, measuring the value of that investment is challenging," stated Ryan Harbison, research analyst at ABI Research. "Wearable fitness device vendors, including Fitbit and FitLinxx, stepped up from just offering devices to pushing integrated wellness offerings with initiatives to drive employee engagement and provide measureable feedback from corporate program participation."

These new corporate wellness programs, often integrated with engagement tools and platforms from other players, allow employers to monitor and manage activity data in near real time so that they can provide incentive for individual, team and company-wide activity progress. Early data suggests that corporate wellness programs with wearable devices increase average employee participation from 20% to between 60% and 70%, with some employers reporting participation rates above 90%.

But corporate wellness is a market where device manufacturers are under growing competition. For example, U.S. health insurance giant UnitedHealthcare recently developed its own proprietary device leveraging Qualcomm Life's 2net platform to deliver corporate wellness services.

ABI Research noted that there will be continued convergence of effort with devices bringing employee excitement to drive adoption and engagement, alongside integration into the wider corporate insurance healthcare provision. The influence of these partnerships is likely to be felt beyond just the corporate wellness market.

"Corporate wellness is a vanguard market for the integration of mHealth wearables and healthcare management," concluded Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research. "The integrated system that delivers effective, secure and efficient data collection, analysis, and integration for wellness programs has the potential to be leveraged in a new generation of healthcare-centric patient management offerings."

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