Wearables, although still a young industry, have created an enormous impact on the development of technology (especially mobile application development) in recent years. In several upcoming decades, it is expected that we will see even greater leaps in kind of tech, as well as a much more essential role that the devices will play in augmenting one’s life, especially on the aspect of healthcare and wellness. However, in order to become real, such a scenario still depends on many conditions.
- Read more: Why health care needs big data
Due to the proximity to one’s body once used, this stuff, equipped with sensors, are perfect for monitoring your physical characteristics and statistics, from breath rate to blood pressure, from the distances you’ve taken in a run to the calories you’ve eaten in a meal. And that is the reason why medicine and healthcare are among the areas that are associated with the use of wearables by the closest. An idea of medical engineers coming up in 2003 might be a more typical example: a wearable that is capable of supervising health and wellness of a person and sending biofeedback to a hub station in real time.
The prospects of wearable tech seem promising: with 96 million devices shipped in 2012, and this will rise to 210 million devices in 2018. People tend to think that the help from wearable devices may result in 10 more years of lifespan, especially on obesity treatment (through monitoring nutrition and exercise).
- Read more: Healthcare Data Analytics
Well, if you are thinking everything is in the pink, you are probably wrong. Although some hospitals in the US, UK and Western Europe have introduced and promoted the utilization of wearable tech as an effective method of gaining insights about patients’ conditions, many others are still lagging behind (especially in the UK).
The market is colossal if we know the right route
Above all, the prosperity of the wearable industry in the future will depend heavily on which customer segment it will target. Unfortunately, wearable producers are still concentrating on satisfying the minorities of tech aficionados and athletes, instead of those who need the things by the most – babies, elders and, especially, chronic disease sufferers.
The long-term commitment could only be found among people with chronic health problems, who were reasonably serious in using the devices for checking their condition, not those who just considered them showy toys. The potential of this sector is definitely colossal. It is estimated by HIS that there will be 5 million patients around the world using wearable and remote monitoring devices by 2017.
Since the clinics and patients will be connected without any facial contact, the widespread of wearable tech will revolutionise the way they will conduct healthcare and wellness services. Another research conducted by HRI in 2014 has shown a clear majority of doctors and customs believing in four advantages that wearables and their apps can bring:
- 1. Put diagnostic testing of basic conditions into the hands of patients
- 2. Increase patient-clinician interaction
- 3. Promote self-management of chronic disease using health apps
- 4 Help caregivers work more as a team.
The benefit isn’t just limited to those
The application of wearable tech will also greatly relieve the gigantic financial burden laid on the healthcare system and its customers. McKinsey has forecasted that wearables will make the cost of treating chronic diseases dip by 10-20%, saving $2 trillion for the world by 2025.
Of course, in common sense, any investor would find this lucrative. Sean McLeod, president of the healthcare tech developer Stratos, has even mentioned of “a brand new industry”. But to make the wearable tech become flourishing in this segment, again, we have to talk about many obstacles that should be overcome – security, privacy, consumer consent, data-sharing, fragmented workflows and digital buy-in. A few suggestions:
- Generating actionable insights through analytics to yield better outcomes
- Using increasing amounts of data to rethink the workforce and workflows
- Targeting digital interventions for where they make the most sense.
Jio Health, a Smart Solution in Healthcare Management, is a successful case study for application of IT on Healthcare industry developed by Savvycom Software. This can be a great example for how the growth of wearable tech will continue or stall in healthcare and wellness.