In the February 5 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association,  UPenn PRC Director Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, and Penn colleagues, Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS, and David Asch, MD, MBA, discuss the efficacy of wearable fitness devices, such as Fitbit,  in a Viewpoint article. Volpp et al note that these devices appear to have more durability as facilitators for individuals already motivated to change their health behaviors than as motivators for people seeking to create new, healthier habits.

“Although wearable devices have the potential to facilitate health behavior change, this change might not be driven by these devices alone. Instead, the successful use and potential health benefits related to these devices depend more on the design of the engagement strategies than on the features of their technology. Ultimately, it is the engagement strategies—the combinations of individual encouragement, social competition and collaboration, and effective feedback loops—that connect with human behavior.”