Health devices have the potential to greatly impact our lives. Medical alert devices can keep seniors safe at home, personal fitness trackers can help you reach your fitness goals, and some devices can even help you figure out how you’re really sleeping at night.
That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy that device and trust it with all of your important information. There are a few things you should think about before you dish out $100 or more on a device that measures, stores, or communicates your information over the internet:
- You could experience a data breach
- Some devices have a steep learning curve
- Devices have to be updated
- Some devices aren’t as accurate as you think
- It may not be a good fit for your lifestyle
Medical device companies take security very seriously. They have entire departments whose job is to identify common risks in identity and directory solutions and deploy methods and security programs to make sure nothing bad happens. Unfortunately, hackers are smart, so things can sometimes happen, no matter how secure a company is.
The good news is that health apps are required to notify consumers about data breaches, but you should think carefully about whether you want to take the risk of having your health and personal information end up in the wrong hands. From medical information and health insurance fraud to account and personal information, it’s possible that your info could be hacked. Decide if this is something you can live with, and if so, which device you’re willing to trust.
If you’re in your prime and buying a personal fitness tracker, you may not have to worry about learning how to use the device. If, however, you’re buying a health or wellness device as a senior, you may want to think about how complex the device is before you buy it.
Many seniors struggle with technology, so you aren’t alone if you are concerned about learning how to use your smartwatch or medical alert system. If you don’t have a lot of support or the interest in learning how to use a complex device, look for simpler versions of the device you’re interested in buying. Not only will you experience less frustration, but you’ll be more likely to use your device if it is simple and easy to use.
Not only do you have to think about learning how to use the device for the first time, you also have to consider the fact that devices need to be updated. Updates enable the device to run more smoothly, but they can also keep your device more secure. Updating it can ensure security holes are patched so your information isn’t compromised.
Keeping your device up-to-date may also mean updating the device itself. Most electronic devices only perform at an optimum level for a few years. If you come to rely on your device, you may have to be willing to pay to have it replaced in the future.
Exactly how accurate is the device you’re interested in purchasing? It’s an important thing to consider before you buy.
For example, medical alert systems have come a long way, but the fall detection feature isn’t 100-percent accurate. Fitness trackers may not be able to keep track of your heart rate when you’re sweaty, and step counting apps may miscount your steps if you have a shallow stride. Sleep trackers can be even worse, as they often have trouble differentiating between sleep and wakefulness.
Check reviews before you buy a device to make sure you find one that is as accurate as possible.
Is It Really Going to Help?
Finally, you should ask yourself if the device is really going to help make your life better? Some people get so obsessed with counting steps and calories burned that they actually develop eating and exercise disorders. Sleep trackers can make you obsess about sleep, causing you to get less sleep than usual, and if you hate the idea of using a medical alert system, and you’re just going to leave it on your nightstand, there’s no reason to buy one.
Health devices that can upload your information to the internet can be help helpful and convenient, but that doesn’t mean that one is right for you. Before you buy, make sure you consider the five tips on this list to ensure you spend your money on something that’s actually going to make your life better.