Changing Your Wellness Program to Include Wearable Technology Devices

Julie Shenkman
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More and more employers are hopping on the health bandwagon and implementing wellness programs to encourage healthier lifestyles for their employees. Workplace wellness programs help employees get and stay fit while increasing morale and motivation in the workplace. As the trend catches on, more companies are incorporating the newest technology into their programs by adding wearable devices to the mix.

Some popular wearable devices companies are now starting to incorporate into their wellness programs include the Fitbit, the Fuelband and the Jawbone. All these devices can measure speed and distance while the wearer is walking, jogging or running. The Fitbit also monitors activity level and quality of sleep, and is compatible with the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy and the iPad. Fuelband monitors, while only compatible with the iPhone, have the option to track the wearer's calorie intake. Jawbone monitors track calories burned and daily distance traveled, and they include the option to program stats from a recent workout, such as a yoga class.

Benefits to the Employee

Wearable fitness trackers bring a multitude of benefits to a company's wellness program. First, they allow employees to conveniently keep track of their goals and progress by making it easy, convenient and fun to track their behavior. With their health information right at their fingertips, employees are able to make better-informed decisions regarding their health and behavior. Trackers also allow for interaction with co-workers, opening the door to friendly competition and peer motivation.

Benefits to the Company

Due to their compatibility with smartphones and computers, wearable fitness trackers allow the employer to monitor the efficacy of the wellness program by reviewing employee progress and activity. This can help the employer design incentive programs and rewards for employees who complete specific goals. It also spotlights opportunities for the employer to help motivate employees who may need a little help getting started or staying consistent with healthy behaviors.

Benefits to the Doctor

Wearable trackers provide extremely valuable information not only for users but also for health-care providers. Some trackers can identify symptoms early, so doctors can intervene before conditions become serious. Doctors can track a patient's physical patterns, behaviors and choices, and offer personalized advice and customized treatment plans.

Benefits to the Insurance Provider

Insurance companies may also benefit from the incorporation of wearable devices in workplace wellness programs. Employers can provide accurate health information to insurance companies to help drive down costs, and armed with better data, insurance companies can set individualized rates based on an employee's up-to-the-minute health profile and lifestyle habits. This could change the face of the health care industry.

Wearable devices bring more convenience and information to any workplace wellness program. Everyone involved, including the employee, the insurance company and the doctor, becomes an informed participant, streamlining the program and making the road to getting healthier a little less rocky.

Photo courtesy of artur84 at



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