Do Wearables and Health Apps Belong in the Doctor’s Office?

Bret Parker went skydiving this year to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Parker participated in a study earlier this year about whether a wearable tracker could effectively measure the severity of tremors caused by Parkinson's. (Courtesy of Bret Parker)

Bret Parker went skydiving this year to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Parker participated in a study earlier this year about whether a wearable tracker could effectively measure the severity of tremors caused by Parkinson's. (Courtesy of Bret Parker)

Apple’s smart watch is only the latest gadget with quasi-medical aspirations. The watch joins a fast-growing wearables industry worth between $3 billion and $5 billion, according to Credit Suisse. Add to that nearly 50,000 health apps and you have a booming new digital health industry aiming to disrupt healthcare the same way Amazon took on publishing.

But disruption is easier tweeted than done, especially when doctors aren't as gung-ho.

Take, for example, Dr. Paul Abramson, a primary care doctor in San Francisco’s financial district.

Abramson is no techno-phobe. He sees patients in a sleek white office with a hydraulic standing desk from Denmark and listens to their hearts with a digital stethoscope.

“I like gadgets,” Abramson explains.