Published: 16 November 2016
Does wearable technology have a place in the health and care industry?
During the 2 years technology companies have been introducing wearable technology products, and unless you have been living away from technology then you will not have failed to notice the impact that was created by the likes of the Apple Watch and Fitbit.
Recent research from Business Insider projects has shown that the number of wearable units shipped globally will rise from just 33 million in 2015, to 148 million by 2019; Wearable Technology is certainly here to stay.
‘Smartwatches’ have been drifting onto the market over the past year, but currently they are linked to smart phone devices and provide only limited functionality. In 2016, true, independent smartwatches and other wearables are set to be released, which are designed to interact with the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). By the end of 2016, adoption of wearable technologies is predicted to be as high as 28%.
(The IoT concept refers to the growing number of physical objects that are embedded with electronics, sensors, operating systems and Internet connectivity. These range from smart phones and tablets down to car keys, e-book readers and even domestic appliances.)
Where are wearable technology products currently being used in the health industry?
Wearable technology has a use in the health industry and takes the concept of improving health through technology a step further. There are now products available which monitor glucose levels or track heart rates, monitor and manage Asthma and even back therapy.*
Although the NHS is so far slow with adoption of wearable tech, there are definite business cases for them. It’s also noticeable that not all wearable devices are watches or bracelets. An example of this is a prototype for a smart contact lens embedded with a micro sensor which can treat and diagnose glaucoma sufferers. The lens can monitor and measure pressure within the eye for 24 hours and the recording device will be worn around the neck.**
Utilising current technology trends to make the care industry a more effective environment
One of the biggest factors to the adoption of mobile device technology and wearable devices in the healthcare field is demand coming from patients. With more technology companies releasing wearable devices that can double as health trackers, it is fair to reason that more doctors and medical professionals are going to be facing questions about using them to improve the quality of their care. It should also be remembered that the younger generation of today who are engaging with wearable technology will be the older generation of the future.
Wearable tech can help care professionals to save time and increase productivity by taking care of some of the more routine aspects of their job such as checking medication levels, which would allow the care professional more time to spend with the service user.
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*=Wearable technologies in healthcare
**=Monitoring the connected body