July 4, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Updated Version - July 22, 2023
The healthcare and wellness industry is shifting toward regulated, personalized, and monitored healthcare. In a short period, mobile devices have skyrocketed in use. With these advancements, wearable devices such as - well-being tools, health monitors, fitness devices, and disease prevention devices are becoming more vital in the healthcare field.
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Today, artificial intelligence, robots, sensors, big data, radar technologies, IoT, and digital wearables can manage and prevent diseases. They can estimate blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and respiration and indicate risks such as declining health, worsening sickness, and other threatening situations like - increased blood pressure or breathing problems.
First, let's understand the meaning of wearable technology. As the name implies, wearable technology includes the gadgets and devices we can wear as accessories, or a few times, as implants. These devices can take different forms, including jewelry, accessories, medical devices, watches, earbuds, bands, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology, t-shirts, smart jackets, etc. These devices can even send users' health details to a healthcare professional in real-time.
With a health monitoring device, doctors can track and measure their patient's vitals in real-time such as heart rate, ECG, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.; the gadgets can transmit the necessary patients' data to the doctors for further examination.
Patients with chronic diseases can get timely treatment once their metrics exceed the level, e.g. getting automated insulin pumps or medications. Moreover, with these devices, doctors can better adjust the patients' therapy by monitoring their patients' conditions.
Apart from doctors monitoring their patients' states, wearable gadget users can track their health status and follow a healthy lifestyle. This includes sleep pattern tracking, heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen concentration or SpO2 monitoring, calorie tracking, steps, swimming tracking, etc. In case of any irregularities, they can seek consultation from a qualified doctor to take preventative action against any disease development.
Wearables can also help in the diagnosis, screening, and monitoring of psychological disorders like depression. It also improves patient management efficiency in hospitals. In addition, wireless transmission in wearable systems allows researchers to develop new types of point-of-care diagnostic tools.
Some of the simplest and most original forms of wearable technology, wearable fitness trackers, are devices equipped with sensors to keep track of physical activity, heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, etc. These provide wearers with health and fitness guidance by syncing to various smartphone apps. Wearers can get a good idea of how healthy they are. Few wearable fitness monitors support the setting of daily fitness goals and show the progress made on those goals.
Smartwatches allow users to perform tasks they normally do on their phones - read notifications, send simple messages, and make phone calls, while also offering some of the exercise and health-tracking benefits of fitness trackers. A smartwatch sends you a notification that you need to do more exercises, or it can alarm you if you're exerting too much effort. Having a smartwatch that can effectively monitor your heart rate is a great way to avoid injuring yourself.
Wearable ECG monitors are on the cutting edge of consumer electronics, and what sets these monitors apart from some smartwatches, is their ability to measure electrocardiograms or ECGs. Some personal-use ECG devices have built-in screens so you can see your heart rhythm on the monitor. Other devices connect to a smartphone or computer application where you can record, view, store, and share your ECG readings.
Wearable blood pressure monitors are devices that you wear and that can easily and quickly measure the levels of your blood pressure. We are all used to those traditional devices that you can use now and then remove from your hand until you decide to use them once again, but things are changing in this industry, and people are coming up with all kinds of possible solutions. Well, this particular product is one of those possible and better solutions, since you have the opportunity to check your blood pressure wherever you are and without any trouble. All you need to do is have a device on your wrist that can do the measurement for you.
Wearable biosensors are portable electronic devices that enable real-time monitoring and feedback to the user on various biological and physiological indicators. They can provide real-time measurements of various biological parameters, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, and activity levels. They create two-way feedback between the user and their doctor and enable continuous and noninvasive disease diagnosis and health monitoring from physical motion and biofluids.
Users of wearable devices can browse their newfound data through a health app. Here are some popular Health Apps:
Google Fit focuses on two critical metrics: general activity and heart rate to improve a user's overall health. It also focuses on the users' move minutes to foster more movement and less relaxation in one place throughout the day. Google Fit's interface and actionable coaching tips help you see how better you need to accomplish your everyday goals. For tracking your eating habits, you can add your nutrition data manually.
With an Apple Watch or an iPhone, an Apple Health app is available to install automatically. Apple Health automatically measures walking, running distance, and steps and uses the wearer's body measurements to calculate the number of calories they are burning. You can add additional activities like cycling distance, pushes, exercise minutes, resting energy, etc., for tracking in your favorites list. When connected with a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, it records sleep cycle and heart rate.
Samsung Health is a goal-oriented and interactive fitness app. It motivates you with its gaming techniques. For example, you can compete with friends or even be a part of a global challenge to get badges for your accomplishments. Providing detailed graphs for each day demonstrates the progress of your nutrition, sleep, stress levels, heart rate, and body activity.
Several patients are increasingly using wearable devices to help them collect essential data and better manage their health. The collection of that data is not enough. The transmission of data to a health care provider's EHR is critical if the information is effectively incorporated into the patient care management process. Healthcare providers should establish a connection between their EHRs and patients' wearable devices to record their health progress. The interface between EHR and wearables is beneficial for both; patients with ongoing primary care and chronic care.
Using wearable devices for everyday needs is becoming an overall trend worldwide. According to a study, there will be a significant transformation in the future of wearable wellness and connected devices landscape over the next five years.
Here are some key points:
In the future, increased wellness digital usage will provide users with a wealth of information and choices, making them far more equipped and empowered to track and monitor their health, and to some extent, even self-diagnose.
The demand for fitness trackers and smartwatches has been growing for quite some time now. Therefore, healthcare isn't limited to just these gadgets. Companies are constantly experimenting and looking for new solutions. Physiological monitors, such as blood pressure monitoring and biosensors, are good examples.
Growing end-user interest is fueling the growth and progress of the healthcare wearable gadgets market. Soon, we will see new and improved wearables being introduced by healthcare tech companies.