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Healthcare Wearables: Thoughts from the Experts on Challenges & Potential Breakthroughs

Dustin DiTommaso

Dustin DiTommaso_Press_2_Final copyDiTommaso is the SVP of Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow, where his work involves the study and application of behavioral science, motivational psychology and human-computer interaction to the design of technology-assisted behavior change interventions, products and services.

What’s the biggest challenge facing wearables in healthcare? “At the top-level, I think we need to ask ourselves if we’re solving the right problems. The market is dominated by wellness-focused wearables intended to change lifestyle behaviors and outcomes such as physical activity, nutrition, weight-loss, sleep and stress. When you unpack their ‘active-ingredients’ for facilitating change, almost none of them are designed with a focus on applying relevant theories and evidence-based behavior change techniques. Longitudinal research also shows that the effectiveness of these self-monitoring devices is dismal for sustained, meaningful change. It is therefore important for us to apply a more rigorous and systematic approach to the design and study of wearables in health contexts.”

Where’s the biggest potential for wearables in healthcare?  “I think huge opportunities exist for contextually aware smart devices for mental health and psychological wellbeing – therapeutic wearables to alleviate Stress, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and to promote optimal functioning. We have plenty of step trackers. I’m interested in designing interventions that use wearables for positive emotion, self-acceptance, mindfulness, gratitude, and compassion.”

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Jenni Whalen

Jenni Whalen

    Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.

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