Sleek, high-tech wristbands are extremely popular these days, promising to measure heart rate, steps taken during the day, sleep, calories burned and even stress.
And, increasingly, patients are heading to the doctor armed with reams of data gathered from their devices. “They’re essentially asking us to digest the data and offer advice about how to avoid cardiovascular disease,” says cardiologist Euan Ashley, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center and Stanford Hospital and Clinics in northern California. And, being somewhat near Silicon Valley, he says he gets a lot of tech-savvy patients bringing fitness-tracker data to appointments.
The problem, he says, is that he just didn’t know how reliable that data was. So, he and colleagues decided to study seven of the most popular devices and compare their accuracy to the gold-standard tests that doctor’s use.
Photo: Paul Sakuma/Courtesy of Stanford University School of Medicine