How wearable technologies like smartwatches can improve healthcare
Smartwatches need not be just for the young or technologically savvy. In fact, the advances and breakthroughs in consumer and wearable technology could have a positive impact on healthcare and senior care.
On the healthcare side, there are now wearable devices that can help you track heart rate and even blood pressure. Checking these parameters can be as easy as looking at your wrist. There are now devices that can track your sleep patterns, how fast your heart is beating, how far you have walked today and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, there are even devices like the Jawbone UP that collects data on your movements during the day and when you sleep, analyses the data using an intelligent app running off your smartphone and presents that data in an easy to digest manner to you. This allows you to gain new insights about yourself and can even help you change your habits. After all, that gets measured, gets done. Now you have the ability to get all these parameters measured without much effort on your side.
However, right now, these devices are mainly used by individuals who want to keep fit or monitor their sleep cycles and not used in mainstream medicine for monitoring patients. However, it is not a stretch to see these devices being used by doctors and hospitals to track a patient’s status and disease outcomes. This would allow a doctor to have more data to help diagnose, treat and adjust a patient’s treatments, allowing for better patient outcomes.
Imagine a world where your smartwatch or some sort of wearable technology is quietly keeping tabs on different parameters of your health, knowing when you are not sleeping enough, when you ate too much or too little, did not get enough exercise, when your blood oxygenation levels dropped, blood pressure got elevated and more. All these data could be analyzed and both you and your doctor could be alerted if some predefined parameters are crossed. This would allow you to seek medical advice earlier and catch a disease before it can do its damage on you.
Companies like AirStrip Technologies are making headlines with its healthcare apps and their apps are are already being deployed for patient monitoring and for electronic medical records. As wearable technologies become more commonplace in the world of consumer electronics, they will also make inroads into the medical world.
Image credit: Jawbone