Is technology a friend or foe of healthy living? EJINSIGHT

Technology underpins practically every aspect of our life. It’s the backbone behind how we work, how we connect to friends and family, and how we relax in our free time. But what role does technology play in how we manage our health?

A new survey by Bupa in Hong Kong of more than 500 Hong Kong-based millennials reveals an answer with two sides. On the one hand, technology is unquestionably responsible for a new crop of healthcare issues including eye strain and mental fatigue. At the same time, technology has the power to change our health for the better, in ways we never thought possible.

The research found Hong Kong’s millennials are enduring the negative health effects of too much screen time. One in two people are worried about optical health and posture related to computer use. In addition, 66% of people don’t manage to take any long breaks from their PC or tablet during the work day.

Still, despite their screen time concerns, Hong Kong millennials largely view technology as a powerful tool to help achieve their wellness goals—if it’s used in the right way. Millennials desire healthcare apps to track fitness data, offer tailored wellbeing advice, assist in monitoring health conditions, and provide more motivation to reach ongoing health targets. They want a personalised healthcare support system in the palm of their hand, not only for themselves, but also as a resource to share data with medical professionals.

Hong Kong millennials particularly enjoy the social aspect of app-based healthcare resources. Everyone knows that working toward wellness goals is more fun with friends, and scientific data backs it up . When people feel like part of a community, they’re more motivated to stay on track and more positive from a mental health perspective. Apps can provide a safe place to chat with others about common wellness interests, encourage one another in exercise or fitness goals, and share hiking routes or healthy recipes.

Of course, the benefits of wellness tech don’t start and end with what’s inside an app. Today’s cloud-based platforms make it possible to connect user health data, professional medical resources, and personalised information and advice, opening new possibilities to give millennials not just an app, but an entire health and wellness ecosystem that’s synched, simple to access, and tailored to each user’s unique needs.

The most common barriers to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for Hong Kong millennials are lack of time, too much stress, and a lack of motivation to make lifestyle changes—all of which point to the need for easy-to-use, engaging solutions.

Millennials’ desire to invest in their own health creates an opportunity for organisations to invest in engaging, personalised, on-the-go digital wellness solutions. Harnessing the latest digital technologies, insurers can offer their customers an integrated healthcare journey which encompasses and connects clinical services, medical insurance, and holistic wellness engagement. From personalised tracking metrics, to rewards-based motivational tools, to integrated patient portals—the digital possibilities are vast.

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