Wearable technology is becoming increasingly ingrained with many aspects of healthcare. The industry is expanding. Last year, Google bought Fitbit for $2.1 billion and according to a survey by Polaris Market Research, the global wearable medical devices market size is expected to reach USD 85.6 billion by 2027.
Innovations in remote monitoring are helping millions of patients by enabling healthcare professionals to monitor their vitals from the comfort of their own homes and keeping informed on their well-being in real-time, reports Neil Cooper in Pharma Times.
Wearable devices like AVA are providing better insights into women’s health by tracking their period cycles. The wearable device, which is required to be worn during the night, gives women insights into their fertility, pregnancy, as well as their overall health. Pregnant women can track their weight, sleep, and stress levels.
These innovations give the academic research community a big opportunity to understand trends and data at an incomprehensible scale.
So, where will wearables take us in healthcare?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a big role in healthcare as well. Consumer-focused digital healthcare companies are making big advances in this space. Novartis is using artificial intelligence to improve patients’ lives and optimize the healthcare ecosystem. Novartis is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build an enterprise-wide data and analytics platform to help transform business operations, starting with the way medicines are manufactured and delivered.
In the future, we may see doctors prescribing IoT-enabled inhalers supported by a wearable sensor that helps monitor the health condition of the patient. The data generated could provide personalized advice for patients while also help medical organizations to develop preventative treatment and therapies.
Mental health tracking may become the next major focus area for wearables, according to Neil Cooper’s report. In the near future, we may see wearables investigating the known relationship between poor psychological wellness and biological processes, which will be of enormous use to medical care administrations. Fitness trackers and smartwatches already provide sleep tracking, blood oxygen levels, stress, etc. With the advancement of technology, we may see sensors providing nutritional deficiencies or other indicators.
The most prominent and useful application of wearables in healthcare in the future may be preventative care. This will be possible by tracking new types of data and re-imagining existing consumer technology. Google Glass and Snapchat glasses, for example, could be tailored for preventative care. If a person is at a high risk of stroke or is prone to a disorder that is triggered by light, these glasses could warn the user and automatically alert the next of kin. If a person is prone to panic attacks, a smartwatch can track their heart rate in conjunction with external stimuli, like loud noises, and then give the wearer warnings or advice.
In healthcare, wearable technology offers promising transformation for the industry, particularly as patient care devices. Device developers, along with healthcare service providers and regulators, must embrace the potential of wearable technology in improving patient care.