Are Wearables driving change in Healthcare?
Since the 1980s calculator watch, wearable technology have been expensive toys used by early adopters and tech fanatics.
Around 2014, wearables became fashionable, then practical, then valuable. According to a study by Forbes, 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds now want to use wearable technology.
As mHealth starts to take hold of our consciousness and twitter feeds, it is worth taking a look at how wearables are making an impact. From smart watches, to sweat sensors, we are now entering the age of measuring our bodies’ systems like never before.
But how much are they being used by doctors?
New research from Soreon Research projects that using wearables for in-hospital monitoring will probably save about 700,000 lives by 2020.
“New wearable technology can easily extend monitoring functions beyond the intensive care unit and alert medical professionals to any follow on medical problems a patient may develop,” according to Soreon.
As optimistic and exciting as that sounds, it appears that currently doctors don’t know what to do with all the data.
Neil Sehgal, at the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation says that “Clinicians can’t do a lot with the number of steps you’ve taken in a day.”
Despite the apparent lack of usefulness for doctors, it appears that the consciousness about measuring the results of activity may begin having an impact on healthcare costs.
As Digital Evangelist Vala Ashfar states “As the accuracy and scope of data improve, wearables hold the potential to reduce healthcare costs by identifying trends and commonalities among certain populations — thereby enabling better preventive care. In addition to engaging patients and aiding personal wellness, they can move healthcare beyond individual monitoring and treatment toward more effective population health management.”
One thing is very clear, the future of healthcare is personalized. What we wear may soon be the source of all the valuable feedback we need to live longer, healthier lives.