The healthcare industry has been tremendously impacted by wearable technology over the past decade. The sensor-based devices are bringing remarkable advancements in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, in addition to making people more and more health-conscious. A huge number of people have embraced the wearable technology and prefer to monitor their health parameters constantly through the devices. Some of the devices can also be used to send data to the doctors, who can monitor their patients’ health and decide the course of action in a timely manner. The devices can significantly speed up the entire process of diagnosis and treatment by automating a number of processes. Wearable devices can be used to track heart rate, physical activity, sleep, etc and can also guide the users on achieving a healthier lifestyle. Paired with a website or smartphone, these devices store and transmit health data. Statistics suggest that the wearable technology market is expected to reach $150 billion by 2027.
Let’s have a look at how exactly the wearable technology is impacting the healthcare industry.
- Promotes Health Awareness
Wearable technology helps in making people more aware of their health and underlying issues. Usually, people consult doctors only when there are prominent symptoms. Wearables have a more proactive approach to healthcare. It can detect issues sooner so that actions can be taken in the early stages. This can be extremely beneficial to people already prone to health problems. The devices can also be used to recognize emergencies, as they can be set to notify family members or healthcare professionals. Thus wearable technology can be greatly helpful in averting dangerous health consequences.
- Improving Patient Engagement
Patients undergoing treatments can become more engaged with their health. The wearable health devices can provide continuous real-time data to the users to help them stay informed about their health condition. This is much more convenient and faster than getting data from doctor prescribed tests. By tracking the sleep quality, heart-rate, calorie intake, etc users can monitor irregularities and can also get help to improve their metrics by engaging in healthy behaviors. Continuous tracking of your health metrics can be significantly helpful in improving the quality of life.
- Assisting Healthcare Providers
Wearable technology also benefits healthcare providers in a great many ways. They can monitor patient data over a long period for having a better understanding of health issues. A more accurate diagnosis can be made and more time and money can be saved. Research suggests that 20% of all healthcare costs owe to lack of adequate sleep, lack of physical activity and addictions to tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Through wearable technology, healthcare professionals can encourage their patients to lead a healthier lifestyle, thereby reducing the burden on the healthcare system. Insurance companies are also taking initiatives to reduce premiums for people using wearables in order to promote health awareness.
- Tracking Multiple Metrics
There are multiple types of wearable devices in the market which the users can choose based on what exactly they need to monitor. The more common are customer-focussed devices but there are others as well that benefit the medical professionals in myriad ways. The devices have bio-sensors installed which monitor the heart rate, physical activity and more. There are devices for diabetic patients to monitor their glucose levels. Also new devices are being developed to impact the health of the users in various ways like tracking UV exposure, improving posture, regulating body temperature, monitoring circadian rhythm and more.
- Monitoring Vulnerable Patients
Wearable technology is great for monitoring vulnerable patients who need to be put under constant observation. In addition to patients using the devices themselves, many people use the devices to monitor the health of their family members. PwC’s Health Research Institute has revealed that there is an increasing demand for devices and services for looking after aging parents and children. Wearable devices can assist caregivers in taking care of at-risk patients by continuously monitoring their health parameters even when they are not admitted to the hospital. This is also true for patients who have been just discharged after being operated or treated for any critical illness.
Wearable technology is a field that holds tremendous potential for innovation. With the increasing adoption of this technology by the general consumers as well as healthcare providers, wearables are expected to bring revolutionary changes to the healthcare industry the in future.