The growing popularity of wearable technology is part of an emerging transformation toward telehealth. Wearables include wireless communication devices that continuously monitor a patient's biological data and deliver it to medical professionals in real-time. These devices, however, are quickly evolving beyond just basic data collection.
As IoT devices get smaller, and 5G advances the low latency transmission of enormous data sets, the healthcare industry will see rapid increases in its digital capabilities.
How Wearable Devices Improve Healthcare
Physicians are increasingly offering patients the option to use wearable technology as an efficient way to gather in-depth information that can help lead to higher quality therapeutics. Patients can wear these devices at medical facilities or remotely at home while doctors monitor their vitals and treatment progress in real-time.
Here are descriptions for some emerging wearable medical devices, with manufacturers listed in parentheses as well:
- ADAMM (Health Care Originals) - This combination of hardware and cardiopulmonary-tracking software is used to monitor respiration, temperature, heart rate, and other vital processes.
- Ava (Ava Science Inc.) - Worn as a bracelet, this device tracks female fertility in real-time on a daily basis.
- Embrace 2 (Empatica) - Used by epilepsy patients, this wrist-worn device detects seizures, which then triggers alerts sent to caretakers.
- EVOLV (OMRON Healthcare) - This upper arm device connects with a smartphone to deliver reports on blood pressure.
- KardiaMobile (AliveCor) - ECGs use this medical diagnostic tool to detect Atrial Fibrillation and other conditions related to heart rate.
- Leaf Sensor (Leaf Healthcare Inc.) - This wearable is used for pressure injury prevention and tracks a person's turn frequency, turn angle, and damage caused when blood flow returns to tissue.
- Owlet Monitor Duo (Cheeky Rascals) - An infant's heart rate and oxygen levels can be tracked by this device while connected with a smartphone.
- SEERS’ Bio Patch (Seers Technology) - This wireless device tracks ECG, heart rate, respiration rate, and other biological processes in real-time.
- TempTraq (Blue Spark Technologies Inc.) - As the name suggests, this wearable tracks the patient's temperature.
- VitalPatch (VitalConnect) - Small but powerful, this biosensor continuously monitors eight biological processes in real-time.
Evolution of Medical Devices
According to a recent P&S Intelligence report, the market for wearable technology is expected to surpass $65 billion by 2030. The growing trend in wearables will impact decisions made by insurance companies as well as health providers. Insurers view wearables as keys to lowering medical costs while boosting patient satisfaction. They also represent fewer trips to the hospital due to monitoring that influences better health decisions.
There are a multitude of reasons for patients to use wearables. For example, as nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, wearing a device that tracks weight daily allows individuals to have more top-of-mind awareness of their physical fitness needs. Wearables can also track how far you've walked in one day, which is useful information for monitoring an exercise program.
Furthermore, wearables allow patients to conduct self-diagnosis and, where possible, self-treatment, which can significantly cut healthcare costs. The devices will play a vital role in managing preventable and chronic illnesses. Machine learning will contribute to this advancement, drawing from enormous historical data sets that give doctors deeper insights. As time progresses, wearables will continue to get smaller and less obtrusive.
Unquestionably, wearable technology is here to stay since it significantly upgrades the quality of patient care. The devices help identify health issues early, which leads to better decisions for treatment. Current technolgies are also evolving at a steady pace to become much more secure and efficient when it comes to collecting biological data.Ultimately, through the utilization of wearables designed to improve the patient experience, automated processes and IoT will gain traction and see continued integration into modern healthcare initiatives.