05 May Consumer Wearables and the Future of Providing Healthcare
While the recent infusion of consumer wearables has mainly focused on fitness and exercise, there is great potential for these gadgets to become integrated into healthcare—especially as a tracking aid for people with chronic health conditions.
According to an article by Dr. Joseph Kim on SeachHealthIT: “As more fitness data is generated by people wearing gadgets, we will eventually enter a world where predictive algorithms will be able to detect that certain physical activity patterns may be suggestive of certain medication conditions.”
The biggest obstacle may be creating systems that comply with HIPPA and FDA regulations.
What are Wearables?
Consumer wearables are electronic devices with one or more sensors that are small enough to be worn during daily activity. Equipped with computational capabilities, wearables are embedded into items frequently worn by consumers—such as watches, eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, contact lenses and jewelry—to discretely capture data about the experiences of the wearer.
Benefits of Consumer Wearables
Although wearables of some type have been around since the 1960s, they have gained prominence in the last decade, and especially the last five years. A deluge of consumer wearables has become available. Fitbit, Nike FuelBand and Adidas miCoach are providing information that ranges from the number of steps taken during a day to a person’s current blood pressure.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of our American population has a chronic medical condition, whether it be diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer or a combination of these. Self-monitoring, and sharing the information gathered with a physician, can help people lead healthier lives and manage chronic conditions more effectively.
Wearables to Monitor Chronic Medical Conditions
Wearables, such as H2, are lightweight accessories used to continuously monitor blood pressure. This information can be shared with a physician to aid with decisions regarding treatment plans.
The BodyGuardian® Remote Monitoring System monitors cardiac ECG and rhythm to gain information traditionally provided by a combination of Holter, event and mobile telemetry. Physicians can remotely access and review patient alerts, and can also set individualized alert thresholds for patients.
Self-monitoring by Consumers for Improved Health and Fitness
As the concept of Quantified Self—self-improvement through monitoring personal experiences—gains popularity, wearables provide a simpler and more accurate approach to collecting and analyzing data. Having the ability to track data about fitness is a motivating force for consumers. According to Canada-based MaRS Market Research, “…52% of wearables owners indicated that they primarily use their devices to stay motivated.”
Remaining active has been linked to an improvement in chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. As our healthcare system faces a large population of aging “Baby Boomers,” preventative measures become a crucial dynamic in managing patients’ health.
Wearables to Provide Emergency Information
Developed by a paramedic to rectify the difficulty of rapidly receiving critical data when responding to an emergency, Code4Armour is a wristband that can provide lifesaving information. The band stores information about conditions such as epilepsy, allergies and Alzheimer’s disease as well as emergency contact and insurance information. DNR orders and information regarding organ donation can also be input into the device.
Receiving this rapid snapshot of patient history immediately upon responding empowers paramedics to make accurate decisions quickly.
The Code4Armour does not require batteries and can be tapped with a smartphone to obtain audio/visual information about health conditions, medications and allergies. Information may be categorized as private, accessible only by a registered paramedic.
How Will Consumer Wearables Affect Your Practice?
There are many aspects of technology that affect your future as a healthcare provider. The marketing professionals at the Healthcare Marketing Group can assist you with creating a strategy for encompassing these changes in a manner that best suits your individual needs.
To help you gain the marketing results you need, Healthcare Marketing Group offers several services free of charge: phone consultation, website analysis, competitor website analysis as well as free social media and marketing guides.
You can reach us at 800-258-0702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to collaborating on your success.