Digital Trend: Quantified Self- using technology to track your health & wellness

A great new report was released today from Pew Internet and validates the Quantified Self trend, highlights current consumer behavior and talks about setting benchmarks for the future opportunities with technology. This is the first national survey measuring health data tracking among the general population. As digital tools for tracking/monitoring health & wellness continue to emerge, this survey may help provide a benchmark to measure future progress against.

To paraphrase Gigaom's post from today (a must read):

"7 in 10 American adults tracks a health indicator like weight, diet, exercise or a symptom. But half say they track “in their heads” while approximately only 1/5th of respondents use technology.

It may just be early adopter tech types who log every step they take or calorie they burn using Fitbits, Nike Fuelbands, and other devices, but that hardly means they’re the only ones who track their health. But despite growing buzz around the “quantified self” movement and the explosion of gadgets and apps that help people measure and analyze everything from their activity and sleep patterns to blood glucose levels and other vital signs, just a small slice of current health trackers rely on high tech devices."

My personal fav quote & insight from Susanna Fox, director of strategy at Pew:
“The competition for mind share is not between different health apps, It’s between health apps & a notebook and health apps & just your scale at home.” I couldn't agree with this more.

OPPORTUNITY: Driving the convergence of health/wellness tracking and technology in a simplified and sustainable manner for consumers. Digital health companies need to provide options that can compete with the convenience and familiarity of a notebook or the ease of just remembering information in your head.

It's no longer about creating an "app for that"
It's about creating an experience; integrated digital systems that drive and sustain behavioral change over the long term. We are looking forward to the market entrants of wellness trackers such as the Misfit Shine (per-ordered! whoohoo!) We are also looking forward to following the pharma and wellness companies who take a closer look at acquiring technology IP as part of their R&D pipeline to complement their existing Rx therapeutic offerings to round out their portfolios of products, support and services.

Further Resources:

  • PEW report
  • Gigaom post
  • We always look to the financial sector for trends too-- recent private venture capital investments into digital health have tripled 2011- 2012. Those interested can read more about that here from Rock Health.