New Study Brings Value of Activity and Biometric Tracking into Question

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Club One Inc. finds the act of “self-tracking” may not be for everyone in their latest Pilot Study looking at the usability of self-tracking devices.

Club One, Inc.
To succeed in mHealth and cultivate users companies will need to focus on utility and usability. Our study supports the notion that success comes from pairing the right technology with the needs of the individual.

A recent tracking-device study conducted by Club One, Inc. found that users who tracked personal wellness data self-reported no statistically significant change in health or energy level when their results were looked at in aggregate. The study provided a pool of users one of three different biometric- or fitness-tracking devices (an accelerometer, a scale, or blood pressure cuff), and lasted for approximately six weeks. The study was conducted by Michael Rucker, Club One’s Director of Digital Products, and Ryan McFadden, Club One’s Manager of Market Research and Consumer Insights, to glean field insights into the way health club members perceive these devices.

“Many industry analysts like to point to the proliferation of fitness and wellness mobile apps as market growth, but in my opinion that’s simply not true,” states Michael Rucker, co-author of the study. “If you extrapolate the number of Americans interested in tracking their wellness from the latest Pew Tracking for Health report, the U.S. market reach for these type of products is approximately 45 million Americans. But divide that by the 17,000 purported mobile tracking applications available and the market share for each is relatively small. To succeed in mHealth and cultivate users companies will need to focus on utility and usability. Our study supports the notion that success comes from pairing the right technology with the needs of the individual.”

At the study’s onset not a single participant reported believing they would have a less-than-positive experience with their respective tracking device. Nor did any participant express disbelief that a tracking device would aid them in achieving a health goal. However, at the end of the study 13.9% of the participants indicated they had not had a positive experience with their respective device, and 36.1% of the participants indicated that tracking devices had not helped them achieve their health goals.

“Equipment manufacturers are devoting a lot of time and money towards innovation,” said Ryan McFadden, the study’s other co-author, “and digital health tech was one of the biggest areas at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. It’s easy to believe this is the future of how we’ll gather data and engage members. But our study should give pause: There are some big questions that brick-and-mortar health clubs should consider before rolling these devices out with their members. Can you offer tech support? Will device inaccuracy reflect badly on your brand? Will unfiltered data frustrate members and damage relationships with training staff? There’s a lot more learning to do.”

A comprehensive overview of the entire study is now available for download at the Club One, Inc. website: Mike and Ryan are also presenting the findings of this study at the 2013 International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association Convention in Las Vegas, NV. Their talk will be Friday, March 22, 2013, at the Mandalay Bay.

About Club One:
Club One is a nationally recognized fitness management company, developing award-winning health and wellness solutions that help more than 145,000 members nationwide experience a better quality of life. Founded in 1991, we operate 85 fitness centers across 14 states including Club One branded and owned commercial fitness clubs and our partners’ facilities across multiple models and geographies.

Club One’s innovative programs and exceptional service environments have earned it numerous long-standing awards, including: “Best Health Club”, “Best Place to Work Out” and “Best Places to Work” nods, as well as several Nova 7 Certificates of Excellence. Most recently, Club One was recognized as a “Best in Class” provider of fitness and membership services by the JCC Association and “Best of Medical Wellness” partner by the Medical Wellness Association.

Club One partners include: Autodesk, Chevron, eBay, Electronic Arts, Motorola, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, among many others. For more information, please visit

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Kari Bedgood
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