Over the last few years, FitBits and smartwatches have become increasingly popular, and it does not appear that they will slow down anytime soon.
Among the leading drivers of wearable technology adoption is customers’ desire to keep track of their health and vital signs, with usage more than quadrupling over the past four years. Based on Insider Intelligence data, more than 80% of customers are interested in fitness technology.
As the demand for wearables rises, insurers and businesses are recognizing the advantages of supplying customers and employees with these devices.
What is the definition of wearable healthcare technology?
Smartwatches and fitness trackers are examples of wearable health technology that provide data on individuals’ activity and health. Even doctors or other healthcare providers can view an individual’s health data in real-time with these gadgets. As more customers express an interest in sharing their data with their providers and insurers, wearables demand is expected to increase in the coming years.
Wearable Devices in Healthcare: Examples
As wearable technology advances and consumers demand more control over their own health, the medical industry, including insurance carriers, providers, and technology companies, will develop more wearable devices like Fitbits, smartwatches, and wearable monitors.
Wearable Fitness Trackers
With the help of embedded sensors, wearable fitness trackers measure physical activity and heart rate. They are one of the simplest and most original types of wearable technology. They provide health and fitness advice to users through a variety of applications for smartphones.
Health Tracking Smartwatches
Originally designed just to tell time and keep track of steps, smartwatches have evolved into clinically beneficial devices. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch 6 are clinically useful medical devices. Apple released an app in 2017 to track users’ heart rhythms and alert them if they have atrial fibrillation. Then, in 2020, the firm launched the most recent Watch iteration. Apple Watch Series 6 comes with a new blood oxygen saturation monitoring feature, a new sleep-tracking function, and a faster FDA-approved ECG sensor.
In addition to being able to view notifications, make calls and send messages, smartwatches can also track some health and fitness data, similar to fitness trackers. Health tracking smartwatches are the perfect hybrid of fashion and function.
Wearable ECG Monitors
With their capacity to measure electrocardiograms (ECGs), wearable ECG monitors have reached the top of the consumer electronics market. Business Insider reports that Withings’ Move ECG device won the best wearable at the CES 2019.
With the Move ECG, you can detect atrial fibrillation, measure the electrocardiogram, and send the results to your doctor. You can also use it to track your speed, distance, elevation, and even walk, run, swim, or bike automatically.
Blood Pressure Monitors
By the end of 2019, Omron Healthcare introduced HeartGuide, the world’s first wearable blood pressure monitor. The HeartGuide watch can be used for a wide variety of functions, including measuring blood pressure and daily activities, such as steps walked, distance travelled, and calories burned. Even though it appears to be a regular watch, it is able to measure these things.
The HeartGuide app can store up to 100 readings in memory, and the HeartAdvisor app can compare, evaluate, and improve therapy by comparing all of the readings. Users of HeartAdvisor may save, monitor, and share their data with their doctor, as well as get insights into how their daily behaviours influence their blood pressure.
This isn’t the only device available, though. Now, a lot of smartwatches are offering blood pressure readings as standard.
Biosensors are a new kind of wearable that differ significantly from bands and smartwatches. The Philips wearable biosensor, for example, provides data on movement, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature.
According to Augusta University Medical Center research, this wearable gadget reduced patient progression into avoidable cardiac or respiratory arrest by 89 per cent. This shows how wearables may enhance patient outcomes while also potentially reducing staff burden.
Future developments of health trackers
The wearable healthcare technology industry is booming, and as it matures, more wearable technology will reach consumers and companies in the United States. According to Insider Intelligence, the number of people who use health and fitness apps will continue to grow above 84 million by 2022.
Insurers can reduce the growing cost per patient by boosting customer lifetime value using wearables. Wearable technology encourages behaviour that decreases hospital visits and readmissions as a result of poorly managed personal health – 75% of users say wearables help them interact with their own health.
Offering wearable healthcare technologies to workers has also shown to be beneficial to businesses. According to Insider Intelligence, companies that provide five or more well-being ‘best practises’ have an average turnover of 18 per cent, compared to 29 per cent for those who give two or less.
In only four years, consumer usage of wearables grew from 9% to 33% in the United States, and this figure will continue to rise as wearable technology becomes more mainstream.