Wearable technology in healthcare is moving far beyond the user-grade health and fitness devices like the heart rate trackers and daily step counters. Last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the wearable technology usage and wearable tech sales are expected to surge in the coming years, with the market set to reach a staggering $150 billion by 2027, according to market research and business intelligence firm IDTechEX. Growth of wearables in the healthcare field and the necessity for more data about the current and future health of patients are the key elements spurring the market. Also, increasing incidence of diseases associated with heart, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension contribute to an increase in the adoption of wearables.
This blog is a deep dive into 5 of the emerging trends that are setting the stage for the future of Wearable technology in healthcare.
Wearable Technology in Healthcare – Top 5 Trends
1. Wearable Apps get more Intuitive
Wearable apps are now keeping up with next-gen technologies. Wearable technology in healthcare applications will increasingly make use of augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning techniques. This helps wearable devices in becoming smarter and also performs most of the manual tasks. For instance, an AI doctor is a standalone neural network with deep learning algorithm that can detect ailments faster than an actual doctor can. Deep learning algorithm ensures the platform makes minimal mistakes and maximum detections through a self-learning module.
Under the surface, the neural network that powers the AI doctors upon detection connects to the platform to gather required medical data and prescribe medications to the patient. The prescription is then sent to the patient’s wearable which he can refer to or even order the medication over using the integrated contact-less payment system embedded in the wearable.
2. Wearables that are more Chic than Geek
Gone are the bulky, black plastic smartwatches, which could easily be described as masculine and unattractive. The wearable technology in healthcare trend is shifting towards a choice of fashionable accessories in a range of sizes, styles, and finishes. The key goal of this trend is to make devices more compact and light-weight, and consequently agile and affordable for every consumer. The smaller the devices are, the more people will engage. From Screens, no screens and leather to semi-precious stones and 18k gold Jewelry, wearable technology is increasingly becoming more sleek and trendy.
Check out some of these impeccably stylish wearables that pack amazing new features for the next-gen tech-savvy customers.
Blinq wearable rings brag three core smart ring technology features – The first being notifications designed to alert the wearer through LED Gem-Glow technology. The second is fitness and activity tracking ability and the third is the SOS distress function that adds a layer of security and safety for the wearer. Totwoo smart jewellery has several functions that include automatically calculating your daily walk and calories consumed, UV monitoring, a reminder when you have been inactive for a specific period, a “shining” mode, which makes your jewelry bling and the ability to pair up your Totwoo with another device so that messages can be sent by merely tapping the jewelry. Sakhi is a state-of-the-art jewelry for women that has been built on offering useful, intelligent features while preserving the fundamental essence of wearing a stylish accessory.
3. Multiple Use Cases of Wearables
Wearable technology in healthcare will increasingly make it convenient for tracking patient’s health. Just like smartwatches, Smart bandages, Smart pills, Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices and Remote Patient Monitoring, to name a few, will be common applications in the future of healthcare industry. Wearable devices will also help in post operative care by tracking multiple health conditions like Blood Pressure and Heart functioning. With wearable technology in healthcare apps and devices, doctors can easily track a patient’s condition and determine critical insights, leading to a more advanced diagnosis process.
For instance, Zephyr Anywhere’s BioPatch can be attached to a patient’s chest to observe their condition and deliver real-time data to their doctors. This device can send alerts to doctors’ watches or smartphones, facilitating more intensive care. Moreover, wearable IoT could effectively incorporate wheelchairs, artificial limbs, and other supportive devices.
Also, navigation is another sector where there will be significant advancements. A combination of wearables and real-time tracking using gyroscopes, compasses, accelerometers and motion trackers can detect locations effectively. With all the collected data, smartwatches and apps can determine cadence, speed, distance traveled and total calories burnt.
4. Increasing Impact of Diagnostic Wearables
Despite the advancements in the healthcare industry, there are occasions when healthcare professionals still face challenges with diagnosing a patient’s health problems. This is where diagnostic wearable technology in healthcare comes in. Researchers have developed optical sensors that can be used in wearable medical devices to diagnose various diseases in real-time. The optical sensors measure small concentrations of metabolite gases that are emitted through human skin and breath and use these measurements to detect biomarkers that can indicate a variety of diseases.
Other diagnostic wearable technology in healthcare includes body-worn sensors that can assess gait and detect Alzheimer’s disease at earlier stages. Diagnostic technologies like these definitely have a future as the healthcare industry continues to look for ways of diagnosing chronic conditions earlier.
5. Preventive Healthcare gains Traction
Wearables significantly shift the whole paradigm, changing medicine from reactive to preventive. With preventive care wearables, healthcare providers can slickly collect data from patients, while allowing doctors to be instantly connected to their patients’ data without the hassles of scheduling simple and tedious appointments.
About half of Americans are reported to have one or more chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, arthritis, asthma and more) during their lifetime. With the use of preventive care wearable technology in healthcare that track and monitor patients vitals like their blood pressure, heart rate and others, it will be easier for doctors to effectively determine their patients’ symptoms and accurately diagnose them. This can significantly reduce healthcare costs and increase the quality and duration of life.
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