Health tech: the key to a healthier workforce?

Viewpoint

15 March 2017

The workplace could be the best place for the mass adoption of health tech in the UK helping to improve and maintain employees’ health through company wellness programmes.

Despite the recent explosion of health tech ownership in the UK, leading to lots of personal data being generated, there are doubts from data academics about whether this information is being used to the best effect by individuals alone¹.

The third annual AXA PPP Health Tech & You State of the Nation online survey shows that 57% of the British workforce would be open to wearing a company paid-for fitness band or similar device during working hours to help monitor their health and wellbeing, as long as this was supplied to them free of charge by their employer. This figure increases to nearly two-thirds (63%), if employers offer workers the device and a financial bonus for wearing it at work.

However, only a small number of working Brits (5%) say their employer currently provides health technology to workers - despite the potential benefits.

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Data sharing

One of the most surprising findings from this latest survey is that employees aren’t shy about sharing their health data with their employers to help them improve the health and wellbeing of the workforce.

Of those who would be likely to wear a fitness band at work, over half (58%) said they would be comfortable to share the data generated with their employer if it helped with the organisation’s employee health and wellbeing programmes.

Dr Chris Tomkins, Head of Proactive Health, AXA PPP healthcare, said: “The increased use of health tech within the workplace could so easily be a win-win for both employer and employee. For the first time it is possible to support an individual throughout their journey from better understanding of their health to actual improvements through smart digital platforms. Furthermore, there are often staff schemes with open platforms that enable individuals to use and share information from their own personal devices, ensuring their contribution is recognised. “Of course, some individuals are naturally concerned about how their data is used and employers are keen to have a clear separation between themselves and such personal data. Therefore, both employer and employee could benefit from the expertise of using an independent third-party provider who can ensure privacy.” he said.

Richard Cooper, Head of Digital Marketing, AXA PPP healthcare, states: “The findings of the State of the Nation survey suggest that most employees are open to wearing health tech in the workplace to monitor their health, fitness and wellbeing. During the last three years, the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards programme has identified many new and emerging health tech innovations that we have not only been able to highlight but also share knowledge of with our members and with our client partners for the benefit of their employees via our Health Gateway service.” “As part of our activities for 2017, we continue to seek the best in health tech and encourage developers, innovators and designers to enter this year’s AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards programme.”

Health Tech & You

There are six categories for the Health Tech & You Awards programme 2017, listed below. Each has a distinct focus from identifying health tech that can support specific needs in society, having the most positive impact for health care providers and identifying individual innovators and organisations that are pioneers within the health technology for the benefit of individuals.

  • The Trending Award
  • The Future Award
  • AXA PPP Health Tech & You Challenge
  • The Health & Care Professional’s Choice
  • The Health Tech & Age Award
  • The Wow! Award

AXA PPP Health Tech & You will be showcasing this year’s finalists and winners at a dedicated exhibition at the Design Museum from the 25th April to 8th May 2017, offering visitors the chance to see and interact with the latest in health tech and innovation.

For more information about the AXA Health Tech & You awards, read inspiring stories and find out this year's winners, visit the website.

About the Research

The State Of The Nation survey was commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare as part of the AXA PPP Health Tech & You programme. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,094 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29–30 November, 2016. The survey was carried out online. The findings documented in this article relate to 1,249 working adults within the survey sample and have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

¹Hänsel, K., Wilde, N., Haddadi, H. and Alomainy, A. (2015) ‘Challenges with Current Wearable Technology in Monitoring Health Data and Providing Positive Behavioural Support’, MOBIHEALTH’15 Proceedings of the 5th EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare, pp. 158–161. http://www.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/~hamed/papers/mobi_health.pdf