When we think of innovations, we tend to imagine them as occurring in the perpetual future. Then suddenly, they are everywhere. Wearable technology has escalated more rapidly than anyone could have ever expected. By connecting human senses to sensors, wearable technology has made a quantum leap, unraveling a tremendous number of opportunities across a variety of industries.
One industry that has been significantly influenced by wearable technology is the health sector. As you’re reading these words, wearable devices are transforming the healthcare industry dramatically. Such devices, usually no bigger than your watch, are able to track your blood pressure, heart rate, and so much more. Wearable healthcare technology is gaining widespread popularity, primarily because of its ease of usage and flexibility. It’s applied not only by consumers, but physicians, surgeons, insurance companies, etc. Such wearables attain an entirely new level of monitoring, diagnosis and treatment. Various organizations all over the world are implementing this technology because of its numerous benefits.
Wearable devices come in many different forms and shapes like smart wristbands, watches, shirts, shoes, shorts, caps, headbands, eyeglasses, belts, necklaces, and so on. These devices are compact, portable, and power efficient embedded systems that are designed to generate data. Most of the wearables have sensors collecting raw data that are later delivered to a database or medical software application for analysis.
How Wearable Technology is Changing Healthcare
- More power to patients. Many people tend to share data from their wearables with doctors, even when they don’t need to track their vitals for medical reasons. Such devices track sleep patterns and exercise routines, which have an important effect on our health. Analyzing data from wearables enables patients to monitor their own health and take the initiative to discuss. The relationship with doctors becomes more consultative rather than hierarchical.
- Medical expenses. Hospital trips require time and money from the patients. Wearable apps and devices are set up to reduce costs for medical care. This is especially beneficial for patients with conditions like hypertension, diabetes and others that need regular assessments. Effective health diagnosis would also ensure the facilitation of care and therefore reduce treatment costs and complications.
- Virtual doctor visits. Wearable technology enables healthcare providers to check on patients without meeting them personally, economizing time and money.
- Remote patient monitoring. Wearable devices have greatly advanced accuracy and reliability. Blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, oxygenation, and more can be monitored remotely, and alerts can be sent to clinics instantly. If a patient needs to be tracked every few hours, the use of wearables is an alternative to hospitalization.
- Assistance. It’s easier for doctors to diagnose the patients’ problems if they have access to real-time data, which is provided by wearables. The collected information helps to comprehend the severity of the problem and as a result enables doctors to prioritize cases. Wearable devices have also proved to be effective for surgeries. A number of surgeons have used internet-connected glasses to preload CT scan and X-ray images, allowing them to concentrate on the patient without having to turn away.
- Help with disabilities. Wearable devices make the lives of disabled people a lot easier by enabling them to manage their daily lives without any help. Special glasses let the legally blind to see, and haptic shoes provide GPS technology for them to navigate. Smart glasses allow people with cerebral palsy to do internet research and take pictures.
- Remote treatment. Some wearable devices are actually able to cease the pain. Using electrical stimulation to trigger a central nervous system response, they can block pain signals anywhere in the body. Other devices have been designed to stop morning sickness or reduce anxiety.
- Clinical trials. Monitoring and compliance are frequent challenges in clinical trials, and wearable devices provide convenient solutions. Such devices can measure the wearer’s pulse, heartbeat rhythm, skin temperature, exposure to light and noise and so forth.
Wearable technology has undoubtedly changed our world forever. It continuously revolutionizes how we work, exercise and rest. It has made things that we thought could only exist in sci-fi movies our reality. Every healthcare paradigm is growing towards smart wearable technologies with which disease detection, prevention, and precaution become much easier.