The Wearable Clinic

One in five people in the UK own a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, to track their health. Researchers at the University of Manchester and University of York are interested in finding out whether wearing these devices can help people with long term conditions to manage their care. For example what sort of tasks devices can help with, whether there might be any risks or barriers to use and how these could be overcome.

Wearable Clinic researchers asked Research for the Future for their help to find people with chronic kidney disease to take part in a  focus group. Researchers wanted to learn more about how people manage their care using digital devices and how they feel about using digital technologies as part of their care. There was lots of useful discussions but the main findings were

  • People said they would value a device that could help them to manage their condition.
  • People were willing to compromise on things like portability, appearance and how discreet a device is, as long as the device could help them in new ways, or do more than one thing.
  • There is no one-size-fit all solution. People have different needs and any device to be used as part of NHS care needs to be able to meet these.

Researchers will soon be asking ‘Help BEAT Kidney Disease’ volunteers to help with the next phase of the research by taking part in an online survey. The survey will use a special type of design, where people will have to make choices between different options for using wearable devices as part of their healthcare.