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Wearable health technology meets corporate wellness

Corporate America: Rise from your cubicle chairs and stand up if you want to stay healthy.

That’s the key takeaway from the new 2015 corporate wellness study by Withings SA, the French consumer wearable and personal health technology powerhouse.

Sure, that message is mostly useful to all of us individuals working in the corporate world.

But wearable health devices are also now starting to catch the attention of healthcare provider and payer CIOs as more of the data the devices generate starts to migrate to doctors’ desktops and hospital EHRs.

Meanwhile, some 70% of the 10,000 Withings users who responded said sitting for extended hours is the number one most unhealthy habit in which they engage at work.

Fitness trackers and smart watches from Withings and many other wearable health technology vendors can alert users to when they’ve been immobile for a certain amount of time.

For the last few years, I’ve set my Jawbone UP wearable tracker to buzz after 55 minutes of sitting. All too often, the wrist band has startled me with the ugly buzz, but it served the purpose of awakening my wellness conscience.

Now that my new Apple Watch has pushed the Jawbone into semi-retirement, it’s up to the Watch to keep me alert to sedentary behavior. It did just that for the first time, today. After about an hour of sitting, I felt a buzz and the device messaged me with this stern command: “Time to stand up.” When I complied, it instantly credited me with some stand time.

The Withings study carried more unwelcome news for productivity hounds.

Only 43% of women said they got enough steps in during the day to maintain a healthy level of exercise. By comparison, 53% of men said they got enough steps.

Women achieved an average of 4,873 steps a day. Men: 5,743.

Hmmm. We should all step it up a bit.

The typical Jawbone enthusiast strives for 10,000 strides a day, or about five miles.

Who knows if healthcare big data will ever routinely include the step counts of patients, but if it does, there are plenty of devices, apps and platforms to make it happen.