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Kaiser Permanente Bets on Smartwatches to Lower Costs

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Tad Funahashi, Kaiser Permanentes chief innovation and transformation officer for Southern California, discusses the virtual rehab program at CES in Las Vegas.

Kaiser Permanente is expanding a program in which cardiac patients wear smartwatches to track whether they are exercising and taking their medication.

Credit: Steve Marcus/Reuters

Hospital management and health insurance company Kaiser Permanente is expanding a rehabilitation program in which patients recovering from a cardiac event wear smartwatches to confirm their adherence to prescribed exercise and medication regimens.

More than 87% of approximately 2,300 patients enrolled in the eight-week program completed the course, versus less than 50% on average for the company's in-clinic rehab programs.

The Samsung smartwatches remind patients to exercise or take prescribed medication, and a mobile app accessible through the device allows patients to report the type and duration of exercise and any symptoms they suffered.

The company hopes the program will help it cut costs in areas like readmissions.

From The Wall Street Journal
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