This guest-post is courtesy of our partners at Buuuk.
Wearables have been in the market for some time now. Wearable technology in healthcare includes electronic devices that can be used to collect, store, monitor, and report data of users’ health parameters. Technology has provided products such as blood pressure monitors, diabetes trackers, and pacemakers. There are many devices available in the market that can track our fitness parameters. But factors such as an increased awareness of health and illnesses, changing patient expectations, aging population, overworked medical workforce, and rising healthcare costs are bringing in unique demands on the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry is going through a transformation fuelled by technology through wearables and mHealth apps to manage these expectations. Wearables have the potential to become valuable health management tools and diagnostic devices in the future. Let us look at some of the emerging trends in this field.
Fitness trackers and smartwatches such as Apple watches are designed to track, store, analyze health parameters related to fitness, stress, sleep and food intake. These devices are complementary to smartphones wherein they connect to apps on the smartphone to provide information and analysis. The next-generation wearables are looking to be less bulky or invasive and have advanced features. For example, they will be in the form of rings or sensors on clothing or shoes. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading provider of market intelligence and advisory services, the share of smart clothing will increase up to 3.1% of wearables by 2023. It was forecast to be less than 2% in 2019.
The use of wearables is being extended to professional sports. Wearables to monitor movements, workload, heart rate, etc. will emerge so as to maximize performance and reduce injury. Devices that measure sweat, breath composition, oxygen consumption, heart rate, and energy expenditure are being released in the market. Coaches and medical experts can use the information to monitor and improve the performance of athletes.
Biosensors and Bio-Patches
Devices are going beyond just tracking steps and sleep. For example, Apple Watch has an ECG app that can generate an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Wearables will monitor critical health parameters, heart-related data, serious health issues, and habits. Irregularities in vital parameters can be monitored and appropriate action can be taken by patients and care personnel in real-time. Wearables can detect symptoms and medical conditions in vulnerable patients which will facilitate preventive care. Wearables can help in easing chronic pain. by providing non-medicated pain relief. Companies are also developing wearables for niche audiences such as those for tracking specific women’s health parameters. Devices that can be worn by soldiers are being launched so that medical experts can keep track of infections and chemical reactions among them during combat and provide requisite safety measures.
mHealth solutions will be used for monitoring medical conditions and improving overall health. Digital solutions that enable communication between patients and medical professionals will become ubiquitous. They will allow patients to connect with qualified doctors for diagnosis, treatment, and counselling via messages, audio calls, and video conferences. This reduces the need for in-person visits. Doctors can monitor patients remotely via various apps and devices. This can help in conditions like post-surgery recovery or when patients are in inaccessible areas. Doctors will be able to support patients managing chronic conditions using wearable technology. Telemedical devices can transfer information such as images, alerts, and biosignals to specialists who can provide home care and appropriate medical advice. Data integrity and data privacy will have to be managed. The devices must allow for safe and secure data storage and transmission. Doctors and patients should have transparent access to data.
IoT in Medical Solutions
The medical field calls for quick and precise actions. In hospitals, doctors and medical equipment can be located immediately using IoT which will help during emergencies. Equipment such as smart glucose monitors, robotic equipment for surgeries, and patches for post-operative care on artificial limbs or wheelchairs will prove to be extremely beneficial for both the patients and doctors.
The healthcare industry is poised for a revolution by using wearables. There are many IT firms and app development companies that want to take advantage of this expanding market. IT companies with apt knowledge and expertise coupled with the right methods of marketing their innovative solutions can help the healthcare industry to integrate technology with medical services so that the it can do the following:
- Provide better and innovative solutions
- Reach a wider consumer base
- Reduce treatment costs
- Improve the health and lifestyle of the society
About The Author
Buuuk is a strategic design and innovation consultancy headquartered in Singapore. Since the birth of the iPhone we have been building apps for the biggest brands including Daimler, P&G, Scoot, Audi, Singtel, Starhub, Tupperware, DB Schenker, National Environment Agency, CapitaLand, Decathlon and NTUC. We help forward-thinking enterprises and government organisations across a range of industries to solve problems that matter by building custom digital products.