The Rise of Wearable Technology in Telehealth

Johannes Beekman

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. However, these devices are evolving quickly beyond just basic data collection devices.

As IoT devices get smaller and 5G is set to provide greater opportunities for the smooth transmission of enormous data, the healthcare industry is rapidly increasing its digital capabilities.

How Wearable Devices Improve Healthcare

Hospitals are increasingly offering patients the option to use wearable technology as an efficient way to gather deep information that can help lead to faster treatment. These devices can be worn by patients at medical facilities or remotely at home. Doctors monitor the devices in real-time for patients of all ages and conditions.

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.) - Used for pressure injury prevention, this wearable 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.) - Like 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

The market for wearable technology is expected to surpass $65 billion by 2030, according to a recent P&S Intelligence report. The growing trend in wearables will impact decisions made by insurance companies as well as health providers. Wearables are viewed by insurers as keys to lowering medical costs while boosting patient satisfaction. They also represent less 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 is overweight or obese, wearing a device that tracks weight on a daily basis 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.

Additionally, the use of wearables allows patients to conduct self-diagnosis and, where possible, self-treatment, cutting 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 amounts of historical data for analysis that gives doctors deeper insights. You can expect wearables to continue getting smaller and less obtrusive.

Conclusion

Unquestionably, wearable technology is here to stay since it significantly upgrades the quality of patient care. The devices help identify health issues early and lead to faster decisions on treatment. They are also evolving at a steady pace to be much more secure, as well as efficient when it comes to collecting biological data.

Ultimately, automated processes and IoT will be increasingly integrated in modern healthcare initiatives utilizing wearables to improve the patient experience.

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