Stay Safe With Society

Check out this free upcoming webinar from Society Insurance about " Reducing Outdoor Slip, Trip and Falls"

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Reducing Outdoor Slip, Trip and Falls
Friday, April 28, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. CDT
Click here to register.

  • Slips, trips and falls are the second-leading cause of employee injuries nationally, with an increase of 41 percent since 1998.
  • Slips, trips and falls are also a leading cause of customer injuries.
  • Slips, trips and falls are not just a winter concern!

Doing everything possible to prevent slip, trip and falls is not just a priority – it's a necessity!

This live webinar focuses on identifying hazards that could cause outdoor slip, trip and falls. Society's risk management experts will also discuss corrective actions that can help to reduce the occurrence of these incidents and injury losses.

Register now and pass it on! All are welcome and every business can benefit from the information in this webinar.


Is industry coming around to robo-advisor concept?

Have you ever thought about the future of employee benefits advisors? Take a look at this interesting article from Benefits Pro about the growth of robotic employee benefits advisors by Caroline Marwitz

LAS VEGAS -- Some advisors see robo-advisors as a competing force.

At the NAPA 401(k) Summit, you might expect some hostility to the concept. After all, the market for algorithm-based, non-human decision-making robo-advisors is expected to grow.

Business Insider’s research service, BI Intelligence, forecasts that by 2020, robo-advisors will manage $8 trillion in assets.

But the questions for two executives at two robo-advisor firms during a technology panel demonstrated more curiosity than hostility. Betterment for Business's Cynthia Loh and blooom’s (yes, three Os) Chris Costello fielded them and got in some marketing in the process.

The questions ranged from whether advisors can get data and metrics about results (yes), how good is the security and encryption of participant information (as good as a bank’s), whether rebalancing is participant-driven (no), whether there was a process to update employee risk tolerance and other information over time, as it changes (yes), to whether these robo-advisors partner with advisors to offer compensation (Betterment: yes, we have a separate arm of the business for that; blooom: ten dollars per participant doesn’t make a partnership conducive, though advisors can offer this service to differentiate themselves to plan sponsors).

The common wisdom is that robo-advisors, at least in the retirement industry, are aimed at people with fewer assets.

However, in the wider investment industry, the BI Intelligence research report noted: “Consumers across all asset classes are receptive to robo-advisors — including the wealthy. 49% of this group would consider investing some of their assets using a robo-advisor.”

For blooom, its market is not intended to be the wealthy, CEO and cofounder, Chris Costello, said, but rather “the people who don’t understand stuff.”

“All the way up the food chain, people are messing up their 401k plans,” Costello said. “We are targeting a segment of market most advisors aren’t targeting, most are well below 250,000 dollars.”

The stereotypical user of a robo-advisor is, of course, a millennial. But now, said Betterment’ for Business GM Cynthia Loh, “Everyone expects technology.” Even the clients have changed, she said. Where in the past it might be a tech company, within the last year companies of other kinds have come on board -- medical, legal, and financial services firms.

Taking aim at the traditional, minimalist way many employers offer information on retirement plans, Costello noted that there are always going to be employees who like to study their options and do their homework. “But that is not most Americans. Most Americans need this to be done for them. When I had wealthy clients, I didn’t tell them to go home and study up. We did the work for them. This brings the services that wealthy people have been getting for decades.”

Still, Loh added, Betterment embraces both the technology and the human side.  “We recognize there’s always going to be a place for human advice.”

Because ultimately it comes back to the human side, not the technology side. Of course, the technology behind the algorithms is important. But something as warm and fuzzy as the participant questionnaire is also crucial.

In fact, recent guidance on robo-advisors from the Securities and Exchange Commission concerns itself with a robo-advisor’s questionnaire.  Which makes sense, as it’s the information the algorithms use to make their decisions and the basis of their advice. Garbage in, garbage out. And the ability, which both firms offer, to consult with a human advisor, whether it might be by phone or by chat, is also important, at least to what we know about what plan participants want.

And the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule has made many in the retirement industry feel that knowing as much as possible about a participant or client is key to successfully helping them as well as being in compliance.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Marwitz Caroline (2017 March 19). Is industry coming around to robo-advisor concept [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/03/19/is-industry-coming-around-to-robo-advisor-concept?ref=hp-top-stories


What Employers Need to Know About Communication

What's the key communication platform for employee benefits communication?

"It is not a one size fits all approach, each group needs to take a look at their population and decide what is best for them."  -Tonya Bahr, Hierl Employee Benefit Advisor.

  • Emails are efficient for targeting professional staff, especially companies that have companywide email addresses.
  • Letters or texts are the best way to communicate with field or labor employees.
  • A popular way to communicate is by meeting, whether it be a webinar or seminar. Often, companies will mandate that their employees attend informational sessions discussing benefits offered. This allows our clients to efficiently communicate a consistent message out to employees to help understand their benefits.

 

Ding ding ding, round 1! Paper VS Digital communications

Okay, not really because it's not a competition!

"An online approach works really well for employees but it is also very important for the spouses to be engaged as well. We typically follow up the meetings with a deliverable the employee can bring home to their spouse. This not only allows the spouse to learn more about the benefits available to them, but it also reinforces what was covered in the meeting for the employee." -Tonya Bahr

tonya bahr 

To download the full article click Here.


5 trends and factors that continue to impact cybersecurity in 2017

Great article from Property Casualty 360 about 5 trends that will impact cybersecurity in 2017 by Gary S. Miliefsky

It’s not unexpected any more: We awaken to learn that yet another national retailer has been hacked, and once again credit-card information for millions of customers is at risk.

Yet, despite all the publicity these security breaches receive and all the warnings consumers hear, cyber criminals still achieve success — and they’re becoming more brazen than ever.

Sometimes it can feel like the cyber criminals are working harder than the people who are supposed to be protecting our information, but when consumers and businesses are vigilant, they can foil those cyber criminals despite all their scheming.

We should be asking ourselves: Why not prevent breaches instead of reacting to them? Corporate America and consumers don’t need to sit around waiting to become cybercrime victims.

To that end, here are some cyber security trends and factors worth knowing about for the rest of 2017 and beyond:

Serious breaches still take too long to discover

As unsettling as it is to think about, the truth is there’s generally a long lag time between when a breach happens and when it’s discovered. The average is 280 days, which means if cyber criminals hack your system today, it could be about nine months before anyone realizes there’s a problem.

 

Employees will continue to be critical to protection

For just about any organization, employees are the first line of defense — and the weakest link. Typically, when a breach happens behind a firewall it’s because someone was tricked into clicking on a link they shouldn’t have. Employees need to be educated to prevent these kinds of attacks.

 

Cyber insurance is hot and growing hotter

A breach can prove costly to companies, which is why cyber insurance is a growing field. Just as homeowner’s insurance doesn’t keep your house from catching fire, though, cyber insurance doesn’t guard against a breach. However, it is important for businesses to adopt a policy that can help the company that’s hit by a breach regain its financial footing.

 

The importance of managing company intranet

Most breaches happen behind firewalls. You’ll need more than antivirus to stop the bad guys. This includes anti-phishing tools, network access control (NAC), zero-day malware quarantining and other next-generation approaches focusing on the root cause of how you get breached.

Without a NAC solution, you won’t be able to tell who is on your network, including if the cleaners are plugging in a laptop at midnight or if a consultant is on the wrong VLAN, like human resources or payroll where you don’t want them to have access.

In addition, you should find and fix all your common vulnerabilities and exposures. You can learn more about them at the National Vulnerability Database at nvd.nist.gov or cve.mitre.org. By finding and fixing your holes, you’ll have a stronger, less exploitable infrastructure.

Consumers’ best protection is still self-protection

Consumers can’t always count on how well their bank or their favorite retailer handles cyber security. Anyone can take steps to be safer. Change passwords frequently. Put a sticker over your laptop’s webcam when you’re not using it. Protect your smartphone by turning off WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS except when you need them. Delete cookies and your browsing history regularly. When consumers learn the importance of mobile-device “hygiene,” both they and the places they work are at less risk of suffering a data breach or los

See the original article Here.

Source:

Miliefsky (2017 March 03). 5 trends and factors that continue to impact cybersecurity in 2017 [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address  http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2017/03/03/5-trends-and-factors-that-continue-to-impact-cyber?slreturn=1488916705&page_all=1


The Changing Landscape of Employee Benefits

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) about the changes coming to employee benefits by Pat McClelland

There is no denying our industry is changing rapidly, and it’s not about to slow down. Combined with disruptive advances in technology and evolving consumer expectations, we’re seeing consumer-driven health care emerge. Take, for example, the fact that employees now spend more than nine hours a day on digital devices.

There’s no doubt that all this screen time takes a toll.

  • Device screens expose users to blue light. It’s the light of the day and helps us wake up and regulate our sleep/wake cycle.
  • Research suggests blue light may lead to eye strain and fatigue. Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.
  • In fact, digital eye strain has surpassed carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis as the leading computer-related workplace injury in America1.

Employees are demanding visibility into health care costs and transparency in the options available so they can take control of their own health. Consumers are more knowledgeable and sensitive to cost, and as a result becoming very selective about their care.

Lack of preventive care

Preventive screenings are a crucial piece of overall health and wellness. In fact, the largest investment companies make to detect illnesses and manage medical costs is in their health plan. But if employees don’t take advantage of preventive care, this investment will not pay off. Only one out of 10 employees get the preventive screenings you’d expect during an annual medical visit2.

It's a big lost opportunity for organizations that are looking for a low-cost, high-engagement option to drive employee wellness.

How a vision plan can help

The good news is that the right vision plan can help your employees build a bigger safety net to catch chronic conditions early. It all starts with education on the importance of an eye exam.

Eye exams are preventive screenings that most people seek out as a noninvasive, inexpensive way to check in on their health; it’s a win-win for employers and employees.

  • A comprehensive eye exam can reveal health conditions even if the person being examined doesn’t have symptoms.
  • The eyes are the only unobtrusive place in a person’s body with a clear view of their blood vessels.
  • And, an eye exam provides an opportunity to learn about the many options available to take control of their health and how to protect their vision.

By screening for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol during eye exams, optometrists are often the ones to detect early signs of these conditions and put the patient on a quicker path to managing the condition. In a study conducted in partnership with Human Capital Management Services (HCMS), VSP doctors were the first to detect signs of3:

  • Diabetes - 34 percent of the time
  • Hypertension - 39 percent of the time
  • High cholesterol - 62 percent of the time

See the original article Here.

Source:

McClelland P. (2017 March 02). The changing Landscape of Employee Benefits [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/the-changing-landscape-of-employee-benefits


Target employee financial needs by finding the right technology

Are you looking for new ways to help improve your employees' financial needs? Take a look at this interesting article from Employee Benefits Advisors about how the use of technology can improve your employees' financial needs by Mark Singer

We have seen how a large percentage of the American workforce has an inadequate degree of financial literacy, and how the lack of basic financial knowledge causes personal problems and workplace stress. We have also seen the importance of financial education and how raising employee literacy directly benefits the bottom lines of companies.

The financial health of employees can vary greatly between companies, as can employee numbers. Work schedules and available facilities are other issues of variance. There is also the interest factor to address. Employees must find programs interesting and beneficial, or they will not attend or glean maximum results. Financial wellness programs that may be beneficial and successful for one company may be burdensome and unsuccessful for another. To meet pressing personal financial problems effectively, cutting-edge technologies need to be applied that both address immediate employee issues and limit company expense.

There are numerous new technologies that can be utilized in a mix-and-match fashion that successfully target employee financial needs. This age of the World Wide Web brings a host of financial education tools directly to the audience. Informational videos, virtual learning programs, webinars, training portals and other virtual solutions are easily accessible over the Internet and most are quite user-friendly. This mode of education is significant. For example, 84% of respondents to a survey conducted by Hewlett-Packard and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship said that e-tools were valuable. The study went on to show that modalities containing some degree of online training were preferred by 56% of respondents.

Gaming and data
One form of online educational technology that is gaining momentum as well as results is known as game-based learning. This method of learning is particularly popular with the millennial generation that has grown up with an ever-increasing variety of online gaming. In 2008, roughly 170 million Americans engaged in video and computer games that compel players to acquire skills necessary to achieve specific tasks. It has been found that well-designed learning programs that utilize a gaming sequence improve target learning goals. Such games teach basic financial lessons in a fun and innovative way that requires sharpened financial skills to progress through the programs.

Technological tools not only benefit those that are utilizing them directly, but they also assist the entire community through the collection of key data. Many of the mentioned tools embed surveys within programs or collect other data such as age, income and location, which can be used to create even better educational materials or better target groups in need of specialized services.

Employers need to realize that they benefit when they utilize these new technologies in their financial wellness programs, since these tools assist workers in taking control of their financial lives. Thereby reducing their stress levels, which in turn leads to happier and more productive employees. Sometimes it is best to meet the employees where they are, with tools that are easy and fun to use.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Singer M. (2017 February 02). Target employee financial needs by finding the right technology [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/target-employee-financial-needs-by-finding-the-right-technology


The Keys to the Castle

When it comes to security, the more layers you have, and the better each layer is, the more successful you’ll be in deterring most thieves. However, no matter how good the security is on your home or car, if a thief really wants something, then he or she is going to do whatever it takes to get it.

But what if the thief is someone who is already trusted? For those who have teenage children, do you leave money on top of your dresser, keep the liquor cabinet unlocked, or provide easy access to the car keys? You might think, “my child would never break the rules because of the consequences.” And then, you get into a fight, or take away privileges, and all that goes out the window when the teenager, in a fit of rage and emotion, does the unthinkable. It’s the same with corporate cyber security.

The IT department in most companies has the “keys to the castle” and each IT employee needs to be trusted more than most because of the damage they can do. In an article titled “Is Your Company Protected From Insider Cyber Threats?” on the website of Workforce Magazine, it notes that, when it comes to data breaches, employees are often a company’s weakest link. Three types of employees are listed as the greatest threats to cyber security – negligent, disgruntled, and malicious.

A negligent employee can be anyone in any department who is ignorant or not trained in practicing good cyber security. A disgruntled employee can also be anyone, but is angry toward the company and is either apathetic about whether cyber damage occurs, or worse, actively attempts to cause damage. Finally, there’s the malicious employee. This is, by far, the most dangerous because their sole purpose is to steal.

Whether an employee is recruited by an outside force to steal from the company where he or she works, or an employee intentionally gets a job with a company so that they can steal from them, makes no difference. The danger is that they do steal and it may not just be data. It could be equipment, prototypes, or anything the company would like to keep secret.

There are a few things companies can do to help prevent insider threats, but these measures can be expensive and possibly too costly for small businesses. High-risk employees should be monitored. High-risk examples would be senior-level executives, IT employees with access to everything, low-level employees who have been previously warned about cyber security negligence, and any employee who HR believes might become disgruntled. Another deterrent to theft is a thorough inventory of all hardware. The easy items are laptops and mobile devices, but don’t forget about USB or “thumb” drives and external hard drives. Finally, make sure you have a process in place to protect whistleblowers. The phrase, “if you see something, say something” doesn’t just apply to terrorism.

There will always be cyberattacks and data breaches. The question is how well a company is prepared in advance to stem these attacks and mitigate the damage if it happens.


Why technology is not just a ‘thought but a necessity’

Are you utilizing your technology to its advantages? Check out this article from Employee Benefits Advisors about the importance of technology in today's marketplace by Brian M. Kalish

More than half of all brokers nationwide are still using paper and have no online database of their clients — but the industry is about to reach a tipping point, where those still using old processes will be left behind.

According to a recent survey of 10,000 brokers by hCentive, 54% still use paper and 53% have no online database.

Having no online database is the most challenging part, Lisa Collins, director of business development at hCentive said a recent event for brokers sponsored by the company in Reston, Va. Those brokers, she said, lack a central place for their resources.

But for brokers still using these old processes, the industry is reaching a tipping point, she said, where “technology is not just a thought [but] a necessity.”

It will become necessary, she explained, because the industry is demanding technology solutions as employers look to their brokers to provide more services with less commissions. On top of that, HR broker tech startups, such as Zenefits, Namely and Gusto are taking business away. These firms offer technology solutions for free and become the broker of record — and they are moving upmarket, Collins added. The tech startups, Collins added, are taking business from more traditional brokers.

These tech startups are directly approaching adviser’s clients, she said. Clients are responding to these HR tech startups because of challenging and changing requirements of HR, including Affordable Care Act compliance.

“Clients are asking for more than ever,” she said. “It used to [broker’s] sold insurance. Now they are a true consultant and risk mitigator.”

“Clients want more and more and it is challenging with less commission dollars to work with,” she added. “You have more competition than you have ever had.”

Advisers need to provide value, as benefits are likely to be a top three expense for an employer, added Brian Slutz, regional sales manager at hCentive.

The future
Looking toward the future, many questions still remain about President Donald Trump’s plans for healthcare and employee benefits, but a few things are likely to be consistent, which can be streamlined with technology, including:

  • Consumer-driver healthcare is staying, Collins said, and with that comes the growth of health savings accounts. As a result, more voluntary products can be sold. Technology enables that through decision support tools that suggest these products to employees.
  • Cost transparency tools: “A really critical tool,” Collins said. Viable systems are hitting the marketplace now and technology provides answers employees are seeking on healthcare costs
  • Personalized communications: With more choice and more complication comes the need for education, Collins said. Technology solutions are becoming more customized to speak to an individual employee with targeted communication to a particular generation.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Kalish B. (2017 January 31). Why technology is not just a 'thought but a necessity' [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/why-technology-is-not-just-a-thought-but-a-necessity?brief=00000152-1443-d1cc-a5fa-7cfba3c60000


All That Glitters Is Not Gold in Employee Benefits

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) about how not everything is what it seems in the world of employee benefits by Michael A. Fleck

The Magpie Effect

Why does a magpie decorate its nest with shiny objects? The randomly gathered trinkets serve no practical purpose. Scientists suggest, and it seems likely, that these most intelligent of animals simply like the way they look.

When something is pleasing to the eye, we – like magpies – are drawn to it. Beauty can, and often does, cloud our critical assessment. This occurs in the world of benefits and benefits technology when we assume the outward appearance of an object (what we see) and what’s beneath the surface (what we get) are the same.

Indeed, the Internet has changed the world. Today’s buyers tend to judge the capabilities of a system by the “prettiness” of its user interface (UI): The Magpie Effect.

But, we’ve all learned the hard way that choices made on appearances alone can lead to disappointment.

The Big Three

As the creators and managers of Benefits Passport – United Benefit Advisor’s (UBA) open architecture exchange – understanding what goes into highly successful relationships between benefit advisors and the employers they serve is essential to our work. That’s because our primary purpose is to give benefits advisors more freedom to create and deliver value to their clients, while we empower employers to take maximum advantage of that value. In our quest for greater understanding, we have found three things you need to know:

  1. The Magpie Effect! Sometimes (too often, actually), what advisors offer and what employers find attractive are not things upon which highly successful relationships can be built.
  2. All employer/advisor relationships go through a life cycle.
  3. An outcome-based relationship is essential for the successful navigation of the life cycle and optimal ROI for every dollar spent on employee benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at why The Magpie Effect occurs and the damage it can cause. I will explore the life cycle and outcome-based relationships in parts two and three of this blog.

Technology For Technology’s Sake

Being part of an HR company that develops and delivers technology has made me acutely aware of how often technology is seen as a panacea. With insufficient – if any – critical assessment, advisors sell and employers buy a shiny new online portal featuring enrollment, multimedia employee education, and FAQ-driven issues resolution. With a sexy user interface, paperwork-replacing-automation, and anytime, anywhere accessibility … it’s all very bedazzling and it’s easy to see why The Magpie Effect is so powerful. That’s why being aware of The Magpie Effect adds even more validity to that old, old adage, “caveat emptor” (i.e., let the buyer beware).

Let the buyer beware means it is up to the employer to critically assess what their benefits advisor is offering. It also means that lying beneath the shiny surface of traditional employer/advisor relationships are some less than attractive things. When the buyer must beware, the relationship is not built on sound decision-making driven by verifiable, relevant facts and mutually beneficial outcomes. Instead, it’s an adversarial relationship driven by sentiment, opinion and, too often, opposing goals.

A Culture of Convenience and Commodities

Two powerful cultural forces give weight and power to what lies below the shiny surface of traditional employer/advisor relationships.

One is the belief we are entitled to more and more convenience. Developers, marketers, and sellers have long preyed on the images of a technological utopia deeply embedded in our collective consciousness … think the Jetsons. In the case of employee benefits, this belief has contributed to the rise of a “set-it-and-forget-it” attitude; simply set the technology in place and forget about it as it does the job of keeping employees happy.

In addition to the demand for convenience is the perception that health insurance is a commodity. This perception leads to an environment where the price is the dominating focus of the annual renewal selling/buying conversation. Made increasingly acute by unsustainable annual premium increases, the focus on price precludes all but the most cursory discussions about why benefits are being offered in the first place. There is little room for any thought of aligning the benefit program with the employer’s strategic, social, and ethical goals.

Beauty Gets into the Eyes of the Beholder

Beauty (a beautiful UI) lures us along an easy decision-making shortcut that stifles awareness and bypasses logic. Bright and shiny sells because it makes it easier for us to convince ourselves we are making a wise choice. By giving us an excuse, and permission, to not critically assess our current reality and honestly appraise the true value – the outcomes we can expect. Beauty too often leads to getting far less than we paid for … and, far, far less than what we need to be truly successful.

Admittedly, breaking free of The Magpie Effect is not easy. Becoming fully aware of what is actually happening and why – and our complicity in making it so – can be painful and embarrassing. And, embracing logic before beauty compels us to look at the root causes of the problems we are seeking to solve. Embracing logic means being honest about the challenges we must be prepared to face on the road to our dreams.

Say, “Bye-Bye Birdy!”

There are many examples of employers who have broken free from the cultural conditioning that continues to trap the vast majority in a win/lose relationship with their benefits. The catalyst in these cases is the relationship they’ve developed with their advisor – one focused on the relationship and not on selling solutions. The best advisors know their job is to navigate the employer-advisor relationship life cycle starting with a deep understanding of their client’s world. And the most progressive employers partner with advisors who have the courage to have open, honest conversations with clients about the outcomes that count. Fueling their success is a relentless commitment to playing an essential role in making those outcomes happen.

In parts two and three of this blog, I will share what we’ve learned about how to best navigate the client relationship life cycle and how you can initiate and sustain a relationship based on the outcomes that count.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Fleck M. (2017 January 19). All that glitters is not gold in employee benefits [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold-in-employee-benefits


The Impact of Wearable Devices in the Healthcare Industry

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Kaycee Eaton

Wearable fitness devices have been a hot topic in health and wellness for a few years now, but what kind of impact have wearables really had on improving health outcomes? Wearable fitness devices can be used to track physical activity, sleep, heart rate, and even provide on-screen workouts. They are most often paired with a smartphone or website to track and store data. There has been a lot of hype about the potential to promote positive health outcomes through using wearables, but a recent study suggests they may not be impacting health as expected.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study in September that evaluated the theory that incorporating wearable technology into a weight loss program would yield greater weight loss results. The study was comprised of 471 participants, all following a low-calorie diet and engaging in regular physical activity and group counseling sessions. They also received telephone counseling sessions, text messages, and access to online study materials. After six months, participants were split into two groups. The control group continued a self-monitoring diet and physical activity program using a website to track physical activity. The other group received wearable devices with an accompanying website to track diet and physical activity. The results showed those using the wearable devices did not yield any more weight loss than those in the standard weight loss program; the wearable device group actually lost less weight over 24 months.

Although this study resulted in wearable devices not proving to drive outcomes for weight loss, it should not be concluded that wearable devices are not useful. Wearable devices have proven useful in helping the patient and clinician create a plan of care and track outcomes. Wearable devices are also helpful in providing real-time data and promoting self-management for chronic conditions. Self-monitoring blood glucose meters and blood pressure monitors have been around for a while, but with the ability for the data to automatically upload to a smartphone app or website, it can help drive health outcomes. These programs can provide instant feedback, track patterns, show progress, and can be easily shared with a health care provider. Wearables are likely more helpful when paired with other resources or tools such as a health coach, personal trainer, health care provider, wellness programs, social competitions, etc.

Clinical Use

In addition to integration into wellness programs, wearable devices are making their way into clinical settings and are being used to provide more objective data. Geisinger Orthopaedic Institute has started a research program using wearable activity devices to collect real-time data from patients. This data will be used to monitor patient activities along with subjective data collection. The data collected will be used to research what practices are best for recovery and to improve decision-making and health outcomes.

Future

What’s next for wearable devices in health care?

Several technology companies are revealing new wearables that could be used in patient care. Earlier in 2016, Philips introduced a wearable biosensor that would continuously measure vitals such as heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, posture, physical activity, and a single-lead ECG. This biosensor would be connected to software that would send notifications to the clinician or caregiver, which could help with early detection and intervention to improve patient outcomes.

The Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University is conducting a research project called Project HoneyBee. Project HoneyBee is researching how and which wearable biosensors can be used to drive better patient outcomes while reducing health care costs. This project is aiming to validate biosensors as an inexpensive technology that can be useful in a clinical setting and for reducing the costs of chronic disease. Some disease areas already being studied include heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), atrial fibrillation, and diabetes.

Although it is evident more research is needed to determine the best way to incorporate wearables into health care to drive better outcomes, many still believe there is a lot of potential and companies are continuing to research and develop new products.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Eaton K. (2016 December 13). The impact of wearable devices in the healthcare industry[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/the-impact-of-wearable-devices-in-the-healthcare-industry