The wearable technology in healthcare includes many latest gadgets to mostly monitor and maintain health!
Now the question is “What is wearable technology”? It’s the technology you can wear on and provides you with valuable health and fitness information. These wearables have sensors and are attached to your gadgets or mobile phones. These hands-free wearable gadgets have microprocessors works through the internet to transmit data.
For this reason, these mechanisms are gaining prominence in the health area and are already being applied in medical studies, treatments and will be applied very soon in hospitals.
With a still shy acceptance in society, they are already becoming an integral part of many people’s routine and are helping to monitor their daily health.
What are wearable technology examples?
Wearable technology has shown swift growth over the past few years to be used in the health care industry. There are bundles of wearable technologies now a day’s available to track your health, fitness, diseases and other related health symptoms.
- To quantify the level of pollution in the air, it’s quality and other respiratory issues the device called Kentucky, developed by AIR Louisville.
- To check the early symptoms for breast cancer, a wearable technology called iTBra has been developed which detect the symptoms and share the information.
- Wearable smartwatches and bands for IOS and iPhone to track health and fitness issues.
- To monitor the brain and heart activities, sleep and muscles disorder electronic sensor tattoos are being used.
- There are many GPS equipped devices are available to track the children.
- Most popular fitness bands which track your activities are available such as Fitbit bands, the Pebble and e-ink screen etc.
- Wearable devices also include implantable, watches, CommBage, smart or intelligent clothing, smart Jewellery and head-mounted display etc.
There are many improvements in telecommunications, microelectronics, sensors, and data analysis techniques to advance the future of wearable technology. They have opened the door to new possibilities for using wearable technology in the healthcare sector.
In the past, the size of front-end sensors and electronic devices made it impossible for these wearable technologies to collect medical data.
Now, with miniature circuitry, microcontroller functions, and wireless data transmission, healthcare wearable can not only improve the quality of life and habits of its users but revolutionize the practice of medicine itself.
Healthcare wearable and sensors can be integrated with various accessories such as garments, hats, bracelets, socks, shoes, glasses and even devices such as wristwatches, earphones and smartphones.
Many devices are using more advanced medical sensors, but many healthcare wearable use multiple sensors. They are typically integrated into a network system that interconnects and collects data from multiple bodies or environmental sensors in a single device.
Some monitoring systems require uploading information gathered from servers (such as hospitals and clinics) so that further analysis can be done later. With the advent of cloud computing, multiple systems can now easily upgrade without the need for installation.
A doctoral study on “Monitoring of vital signs with flexible and wearable medical devices” has focused on realizing and system implementation of skin-like bendable sensor patches to monitor the health of human beings or patients. It works through printed bioelectronics & biophotonic sensors that are more flexible to wear. This wearable medical gadget used to track critical signs in the body and record the information for analysis.
The wearable technology trends are on the rise and are apparently here to stay. In 2017, Apple sold more Apple Watches than the entire Swiss watch industry.
Health features are increasingly common in wearable devices usually including some form of step counter or heart rate monitor, as well as cell phones.
Now wearable technology trends have moved toward powerful and accurate ways to perform complex diagnostics and treatments through these technologies.
In the future, a wearable may even identify serious illnesses without the need for medical examinations.
The use of these devices in technology and health fields has been accelerating for obvious reasons: they can greatly improve the quality of treatments and even save lives.
Thanks to the advancement of technology in health, many of these devices already have a huge possibility of resources and monitor various vital functions such as blood sugar level, pain level, and skin temperature, among others.
There are several companies providing a variety of wearable healthcare devices. Fit-bit, one of a wearable healthcare technology company is offering wireless wearable device impacting people’s routine positively. This bracelet monitors physical activity, a number of steps and, among other things, the heart rate of its user.
A curiosity about Fitbit is that thanks to this device, recently, an American has identifies his wife’s pregnancy by the frequency of heartbeats shown on her bracelet.
There is also specific wearable to treat back pain, such as Valedo, offered by Hocoma, a wearable technology company.
Its sensors are attached to the user who starts playing a game where the movements of his back give the directions of the characters in the game. This way, the person exercises their muscles while having fun.
There are also wearable healthcare technology gadgets that promise to help people quit smoking. The Chrono Therapeutics has sensors that detect changes in the body.
Through an algorithm, it detects whether the person has a craving for cigarettes and nicotine. Thus, the user may take some action, or even medication, to “calm” the addiction.
The universe of wearable in health technology is vast and has technologies to treat from asthma to ulcers.
Future of Wearable Healthcare Technology
Over time, new healthcare technology devices emerge with the goal of improving people’s health.
Currently, the future of wearable devices technology can be classified into five categories:
- Health and wellness monitoring: Sensors examine the physiological data of older people and individuals suffering from chronic diseases. They facilitate medical interventions that need to be done from time to time. They are the most commonly used by people who play sports and the general public.
- Safety oversight: Devices capable of detecting falls, seizures, and heart attacks in or susceptible to older people by sending alarms to caregivers or emergency personnel.
- Home Rehabilitation: It combines interactive gaming features and virtual reality environments and sensor technology. The use of technology in healthcare can create enhanced feedback systems to facilitate home rehabilitation in physiotherapy in patients with heart disease and the elderly.
- Efficacy assessment: Sensors that allow you to accurately assess the development and effectiveness of examinations or therapies, tracking physiological changes caused by chronic diseases, as well as the progress of treatments on a continuous basis.
- Early detection: By combining body sensors and activity monitors, the technology can be used to detect symptoms and various changes in patients’ health, effectively discovering disease before it fully manifests.
Healthcare Technology Used to Identify Diseases?
This technology has made it easy to detect different deceases through health-wear intelligent gadgets. Companies are focusing on early-stage detection of symptoms that can cause saviour diseases in humans. Let’s have a look into health care technologies being used by health care sectors across the world.
Big companies like Nokia are increasingly interested in developing wearables technology in health. They want to detect many cancers in the early stages, even before further medical examination by a doctor. The research for this wearable technology in healthcare is still developing slowly.
The findings in this area would greatly increase the survival rate and treatability of the disease.
A study conducted using a combination of wearables and machine learning concluded that it is possible to predict the risk of diabetes before clinical testing by studying variations in heart rate.
The results suggest that technology could play an important role in the detection and diagnosis of the disease.
The fact that machine learning takes place via the cloud is a problem. But, in the future all calculations and conclusions are expected to occur on the devices themselves, providing users with “live” information.
Most wearables are already equipped with technology that allows operators to monitor their heart rate. They create alerts whenever a drastic change occurs.
However, medical institutes today are using programs like ResearchKit to conduct large-scale studies to develop wearables that can identify heart disease, something not found in routine exams.
Wearables like Pebble Time automatically record what time you go to sleep, the stages of sleep and deep sleep. In addition, they also record the times you wake up at night and how long it takes you to fall asleep again.
Other apps, such as the Android Sleep App, allow you to diagnose sleep disorders. It alerts you when you are sleeping too little, and even tell you if you are snoring too much.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and its high sensitivity is one of the clearest health indicators. The skin changes according to your mood, stress level and environmental, and therefore requires particular attention.
The wearable S-Skin consists of a micro-needle and a portable device that allow you to analyze your skin. It also offers solutions, even suggesting specific products you can use to improve the situation.
Using an LED light, it can measure the degree of humidity, hydration, redness or melanin and save the data in the app so you can keep up with changes.
At present, the most generic wearables (which function as notification centres and include health sensors) account for the largest share of the market.
However, it is expected that in the future these will consist of the smallest part, with the increase in popularity of specialized wearables.
With companies increasingly gaining access to machine learning, the focus will shift to building devices that can provide valuable and useful insights and information about the specific changes that can be made in each user’s lifestyle.
In addition, healthcare professionals will use wearables as allies in diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases, as this technology will be able to accurately determine patients’ conditions and the medications needed for their recovery.
According to an IHS Technology report, the global wearables market will grow to 210 million shipments in 2019. It will generate revenue of $30 billion – a 250% increase from 8.5 billion sales during the year.
whereas, between 2012 and 2019, there was a 552% increase in the export of healthcare devices and wearables, constituting 80% of the sensor market at that time.
According to a recent study, the number of wearables connected worldwide will jump from 325 million (2016) to over 830 million by 2020.
More than any other wearable category, wristwatches will be the most common, with more than 170 million units sold in 2020 alone.
Check out the use of technology in healthcare that can be enhanced through this growth-prone technology in the coming years:
Challenges of healthcare technology devices
The big challenge for the future of wearables in medicine is to analyze all this data that is generated.
Because the volume of information is so high, it will be necessary to create some sort of screen and ways to turn all these numbers into “summaries” useful to the healthcare professional.
One of the solutions most discussed by experts in the field includes “the creation of a database in which user-generated data is transmitted and stored” and can be used later to prevent health problems or to create diagnoses and treatments.
This model will allow several body changes to be identified in advance, thanks to the collaboration of other users.