Mercy's Dr. Jonathan Rich Examines the Role Health Monitor/Fitness "Wearables" Play in Good Health

April 28, 2015


Whether you wear it on your wrist or strap it to your chest, fitness devices have become great motivators when it comes to getting healthy.

What started out as a simple pedometer, tracking your steps has evolved into a slick device that can monitor your heart rate. Do they truly make a difference?

About a month ago, Kathy Sevy began working out five days a week and it was a little device on her wrist that started it all.

"One or two people started wearing them, and then they said, 'You should wear one,' and 'It gets kind of vicious,'" Sevy said.

It is vicious, but effective, as her friendly competition was the step in the right direction.

"It will tell you your steps, your heart rate, your distance, your calories burned," Sevy said.

Devices like Sevy’s Fit Bit are exactly what Mercy Medical Center internist Dr. Jonathan Rich recommends to patients who want to improve their overall health.

"I want to see how these will make someone healthier. I'm excited about them because it's a behavior modification, so anything that motivates someone to be more active is beneficial," Dr. Rich said.

The gadgets come in all shapes and sizes, and with the release of the new Apple watch, more people are expected to be keeping track of their health.

According to Dr. Rich, it doesn't matter what kind of device is being used. They help most patients get moving and that's a good thing, even if there isn't concrete evidence that they improve your health.

"The studies are still being done. There's not a lot out there saying how effective this is going to be," Dr. Rich said.

Dr. Rich thinks that will change and is glad people are having fun with their gadgets and using them for good health.

To view Dr. Rich’s interview with WBAL-TV11 regarding fitness trackers, fitness wearables, and health monitor devices, click here.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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