“In an age where the average consumer manages nearly all aspects of life online, it’s a no-brainer that healthcare should be just as convenient, accessible and safe as online banking”
– Jonathan Linkous
Holistic tracking refers to the tracking of health data in everyday life. In the context of healthcare technology, this usually involves carrying a gadget that measures bodily functions throughout the day, such as pulse or temperature, as well as keeping track of health data ourselves, e.g. in an electronic diary. The results can be interpreted and read via an app or an online platform.
Applications & benefits
Users can map their health via a wide range of apps, gadgets, wearables and digital environments. Trackable information includes athletic performance, diet, sleeping patterns and mental health. Keeping track of this data creates awareness and stimulates a healthier lifestyle [1-3]. Since the introduction of the Fitbit, wearables have become extremely popular and it is hard to imagine a world without them. Wearables that go inside your ear (hearables) are gaining popularity as well . Meanwhile, a lot of measurement devices that eliminate the need for us to carry them along are being developed. Examples include implantables, smart pills (ingestibles) and nano robots that can be injected (injectables) to do their job from the inside.
The market for holistic tracking is growing explosively. In 2020, 444.7 million wearables were sold worldwide, exceeding all expectations . In addition, the global market value of health apps was estimated at $8 billion in 2018 and this figure is expected to approach $150 billion by 2028 . The market for smart textiles is expected to grow to $2.1 million by 2027 . Recent estimates showed that the current market offers over 350,000 health apps .
Growing connectivity and improved data infrastructure
Changing healthcare needs
New technological capabilities
Data leads to misinterpretation
Immaturity of the application
Holistic tracking is being deployed at large scale already, but the constant tracking of individuals leads to privacy issues. Confidence is growing, however, when it comes to the safety of collected data, in part due to improved scalability and quality. Another force driving this market is the growing number of people with a chronic disease; after all, this only increases the demand for healthcare and analytics solutions . In addition, the trend aligns with users’ desire to become empowered when it comes to their health.
We are increasingly capable of measuring and monitoring our own health. The biggest challenge resides in the collection and correct use of this data for actual applications in everyday life or the healthcare process. If used correctly, holistic tracking greatly contributes to the empowered patient.
- Gal, R., et al., The Effect of Physical Activity Interventions Comprising Wearables and Smartphone Applications on Physical Activity: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Sports Med Open, 2018. 4(1): p. 42.
- Carroll, J.K., et al., Who Uses Mobile Phone Health Apps and Does Use Matter? A Secondary Data Analytics Approach, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2017. 19(4).
- Sharon, T., Self-Tracking for Health and the Quantified Self: Re-Articulating Autonomy, Solidarity, and Authenticity in an Age of Personalized Healthcare, Philosophy & Technology, 2016. 30(1): p. 93-121.
- IDC, Consumer Enthusiasm for Wearable Devices Drives the Market to 28.4% Growth in 2020, According to IDC, 2021 Available from: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS47534521
- Grand View Research, mHealth Apps Market Size Worth $149.3 Billion By 2028 | CAGR: 17.7%, 2021 Available from: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-mhealth-app-market
- Market Research Future, Medical Smart Textile Market Research Report – Global Forecast till 2027, 2020 Available from: https://www.marketresearchfuture.com/reports/medical-smart-textile-market-1123
- IQVIA Institute. Digital Health Trends 2021: innovation, evidence, regulation, and adoption. July 2021