The burgeoning market of consumer wearable devices (e.g., Fitbit, Garmin, Apple), used to measure physical activity, sleep, sedentary behaviors, and other health indicators, may provide new opportunities for low-cost and scalable measurement of human behavior in a variety of settings. Consumer wearable device data supports a range of uses, from guiding self-improvement, delivering patient-centric clinical care, tailoring public health interventions, and reporting on population-level prevalence and trends.
As the consumer begins to adopt more items such as smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers, researchers have also begun using a combination of both consumer and costlier clinical-grade wearables for primary and secondary data collection. This rapid proliferation has left a considerable void in what is known about the validity, reliability, feasibility and long-term benefit associated with self-tracking or utility of these data.
This three-part, interactive roundtable will begin with a series of wearable device demonstrations and provide an overview of how personal sensor data have been used to support observation, health behavior interventions, and the potential for predicting future disease states. Next, the use of wearables as an adjunct to traditional survey data collection will be discussed, including operational considerations and techniques to mitigate risks of selection bias and measurement error. Finally, we will discuss sentinel peer-reviewed publications and ongoing human studies worth monitoring to frame a discussion of research needs and future directions for the use of personal sensor data in public health.