Two stories about physicians getting snapped up by non-traditional employers caught our attention this week. First is this story about tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet attracting doctors to give direction on their respective ventures into healthcare. Apple in particular is looking to improve products like their Apple Watch, which they’ve been loading up with increasingly more precise biometric sensors. But if you’re a doc who wants to get away from traditional healthcare without having to work on fancy gadgets, there’s a second option: open a CrossFit gym. The high-intensity workout program has been hosting networking/training events for physicians as part of its CrossFit Health program, which seems to have a bone to pick with the current healthcare landscape if their site banner is anything to go off of.
Major life insurer John Hancock has been offering its vitality program since 2015, which allows members to reduce their premiums if they meet their activity goals as tracked by a fitness wearable. But the company has ramped up its efforts to gather that data from its members in the past week—now John Hancock only offers life insurance plans that include the vitality program discounts. We’re wondering what is more valuable for the company: the health data they collect from their members, or fitter members that stick around to pay for policies longer? We’re also wondering how this thinking pans out in the future, will life insurers require everyone to buy an Iron Man-style suit that sends biometrics back to the insurer? Well, this writer can’t complain if there’s financing.
Tell us about your fitness device use…
Last week, researchers found that exercise can counteract the cognitive decline some patients experience post-breast cancer treatment. It’s the 457th publication since 2012 to use a Fitbit device in research. Or to put it a different way, this study found that 83 percent of clinical trials used a Fitbit as opposed to another brand. Researchers apparently just really prefer it. That’s good news for the company, since it now has a slew of clinical data under its belt, and it’s thinking about a run at a medical device designation a few years in the future. According to their GM of Health Solutions, “as we start going deeper down the health road with more and more advanced sensors, I’d say, just stay tuned.” Oooooh, mysterious.
Did you make a health or fitness related New Year’s resolution this year?
Have you given a health- or fitness-related gift to someone in the past 3 months?
What kind of watch do you wear?
If your primary care physician advised you to wear an activity tracker (e.g., a Fitbit), would you comply?