Machines have revolutionized life on Earth, and today, we are even able to wear them on our bodies. The healthcare industry has been one of the biggest benefactors of technological advances through the years, and it has seen significant revamps in its processes and systems — especially in the form of medical wearables.
The use of wearable technology in healthcare has more than tripled over the last four years — and it does not seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon. Accenture pegs it from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018, and Statista forecasts that global revenue from medical wearables will reach almost $10 billion by 2020.
So what makes them such a hit? And are they going to stay and continue weaving themselves into the healthcare industry? Are medical wearables “the new black?”
A Brief Overview of Medical Wearables
Medical or healthcare wearables are devices that are designed to collect, log, and track data related to personal health and fitness. There are various types, including but not limited to:
- Fitness trackers
- Smart health watches
- Wearable ECG monitors
- Wearable blood pressure monitors
They are becoming increasingly popular; according to Business Insider’s research, more than 80% say that they are especially interested in wearing fitness technology. And the list of devices to choose from continually grows, with many of them servicing more than just one tracking functionality. Just last month, for instance, the FDA has approved a wearable device that tracks multiple vital signs for patients’ home use.
Advantages of Medical Wearables
Medical wearables offer multiple advantages. First off, they motivate people to take a proactive approach to healthcare. Most of the time, patients go to a doctor only when something is already really, really wrong. But medical wearables can encourage those who have existing conditions, or those at risk of developing certain diseases, to stay on top of their health status.
Additionally, wearables perform many functions that go above and beyond just fitness tracking. Some wearables are equipped to monitor the presence of cancer cells in blood, collect gait data to track possible Alzheimer’s disease, assist in dialysis, and more.
They can also aid in more comprehensive care. Wearables can bridge the gap between hospital visits and continuous care by enabling patients to monitor their health at home, and thereby supplement recommendations from doctors. Doctors are beginning to appreciate getting data from wearable devices, even those that are not medical devices. Doing this does not only ensure better care for patients, it also helps cut overall healthcare management costs.
Current and Future Considerations
Medical wearables are definitely the new black, but that does not mean that there is no longer room for any improvement. At present, some devices come with physical and security restrictions that limit their effectiveness. Additionally, the industry still has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to incorporating Big Data into their use.
When designing and deploying medical wearables, it is important to work with an engineering team that specializes in designing firmware and software for the healthcare industry, such as Voler Systems. We create wearable and IoT devices for companies of all sizes, making sure to mitigate technical risk to ensure the best quality. Visit https://volersystems.com/ for more information.