More than a few people around the world have become familiar with Fitbits and mobile exercise apps that are enabled by wearable technology. By 2023, the healthcare industry is expected to spend $20 billion annually in wearable technology, according to Juniper research. This trend is attributed to the advancements in remote patient monitoring technology and increased adoption by medical institutions.
Wearable technology has also seen a growing list of applications in fitness and healthcare, from disease prevention and health maintenance to patient management to disease management. In fact, there have also been efforts to explore wearable tech’s capacity to not only collect data on patients but provide actual therapeutic stimulations for alleviating mental and physical issues.
The value of wearable technology is real, and its potential is limitless. Let’s take a look at three of its many exciting applications.
Consistent patient monitoring and preventative detection
While an ECG may be the most accurate way of measuring a patient’s pulse, it captures that information only at a particular point in time—when the patient visits the clinic or hospital. It simply cannot measure all the pulse fluctuations across extended periods in a patient’s life and detect patterns that may be useful for medical professionals.
A smartwatch, however, can provide a long-term, evolving view of the patient’s changing pulses across time and a wide range of activities. The larger, and more consistent, the volume of data it captures could be harnessed by machine learning models to generate predictive analytics about health issues before they arise. Such insights will empower medical professionals to act proactively and begin treatment at the most optimal time.
Wearable devices can help doctors ensure that patients are complying with their treatment programs. It can remind patients when they should take medication all while giving doctors a clear idea of how thoroughly the patients have been adhering to their treatment protocols. It also enables doctors to proactively reach out to patients to discuss potential issues that might need to be accounted for if non-adherence becomes too frequent.
Interactive healthcare solutions
By providing healthcare institutions and providers with a complete, continuous view of the patient’s activities and health, wearable technology will likely transform how healthcare and insurance products are designed and soled. Organizations can essentially provide hyper-personalized products and services that align with individual patient profiles and are sold at individually set prices. Early adopters like insurance provider John Hancock have already tested the viability of more interactive pricing models that account for individual health and lifestyle data captured by wearable devices after patient consent.
The world is becoming ever more digitally enriched. Wearable technology will not just play a key role in streamlining the work of doctors and care workers. It will also catalyze significant shifts in even the basic operations of the healthcare industry. Perhaps more importantly, it will be a part of a much more interconnected, seamless future, for patients, medical professionals, and healthcare organizations alike.
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