Even in the fast-changing world of the Internet, it’s rare that we get to see an entirely new niche emerge before our eyes. When the Internet of Things (IoT) actually became a thing, we were amused and occasionally bemused by fridges that sensed when we were low on groceries, lights controlled via smartphone apps, and coffee machines that would be waiting on us in the morning.
The second generation of the IoT embraced wearable technology, smartwatches, and fitness monitors. These applications are the catalyst for a constellation of start-ups jumping at the opportunities the IoT has to offer. Here are four ways wearable technology is and will continue to change healthcare as we know it.
Enter Digital Medicine
Wearable technology is evolving fast and increasingly has the potential to revolutionize diagnostics. Healthcare researchers are refining monitors capable of providing real-time oversight of the whole body. Powering this diagnostic bloom is the transmission of data via mobile wireless networks to the cloud for diagnostic processing.
We are witnessing the true convergence of the genomic and IoT revolutions melding healthcare, active lifestyle, and social structures. Wearable technology’s maturing capabilities promise to empower individuals to monitor their health and make informed decisions on their lifestyle, particularly those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart complications, and high blood pressure.
More Than a Watch Or Fitness Tracker
Devices such as the Helios ‘smart ring’ and FreeStyle Libre represent the cutting edge of wearable healthcare. Developed in the Netherlands, Helios is a multi-functional smart device that even notifies you when you need more sunlight-derived vitamin D.
FreeStyle Libre monitors glucose. Painlessly applied to the skin with a handheld applicator, it lasts for 14 days and sends data to the cloud where it is accessed via an app making sharing medical information with your doctor truly seamless.
Pushing Healthcare Out of Waiting Rooms
With wearable tech uploading data to the cloud, health professionals are able to tap into it directly for review and analysis. Patients can be monitored from their homes, reducing hospital workloads, overcrowding and resource demand on the healthcare system itself.
Big Data is Powering Wearable Technology
While wearable technology sounds truly remarkable, it comes with its own demands, which will inevitably change healthcare. All those devices streaming data continuously to the cloud require huge amounts of data storage and advances in diagnostic automation.
Continuously generating actionable insights yield better outcomes for patients through personalized health care strategies for potentially high-risk patients.
Wearable medical technology implies a redesign of medical workflows and changes to back office workforce structures, including a higher output of online health informatics degree recipients, if wearable technology is to achieve its potential.
If it continues its present development trajectory, wearable technology promises to transform how our current healthcare system prioritizes and allocates resources, smoothing out glaring inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, reducing costs, and enabling the precision delivery of medication, assuming we have a pool of trained graduates from online MSHI degree providers to support these capabilities!