Friday, April 20th, 2018

Wearables Are Changing Healthcare As We Know It

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Since their popularization in 2014, wearables have become an integral innovation in the American consumer’s life. Wearables are defined as an electronic device that can be worn on your person and includes wrist movement trackers (Think: your Apple Watch, your Fitbit, etc.). The market for wearable growth is predicted to have a yearly growth of 23 percent for the next five years, reaching a $100 billion market by 2023. So it’s safe to say this wearable trend isn’t going anywhere!

The wearables boom has taken full effect in our daily lives, and we’ve begun to see it infiltrate some industry-specific use cases as well–most notably in the health space, encouraging wearers to get active and take care of their physical health. Think about it: the most popular wearable devices right now are the Apple Watch and the Fitbit, which can track your heart rate, steps, sleep patterns, and even send reminders when you should stand at work to boost your energy.

Although we’re off to a healthy start, there’s lots of room for innovation to connect wearables in the healthcare space. Studies surfacing like this one–in which wearables collected data via wearable tech to determine if any users had atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that can increase your risk of stroke–can help users become more conscious of how their health habits can affect their lives. PK Vitality, a French technology company, is creating waves in the diabetes field with their K’Watch Glucose wearable. The device is fashioned like an Apple watch and allows those with diabetes to instantly measure their glucose levels, without the painful finger pricks that most diabetes patients have endured for years. It will be able to connect to Android and iOS systems with a native mobile application. While the device is being tested for medical certification right now, it shows us just how much these wearables devices could change the lives of patients across the world.

On the other side of the spectrum, wearables have a huge opportunity to trim wait times and healthcare costs for medical providers in addition to the patient and personal tracking space. This type of innovation is focusing big in the high-growth market that is a result from the aging Baby Boomers. Recording data such as the patient’s skin temperature or blood pressure could prevent caretakers from missing basic symptoms and having to rush them to the ER days late from an affliction. It’s clear that customers are ready to have this type of innovation hit mainstream markets, because, consumers today say that health organizations–including doctors offices, hospital systems, and health insurance companies–are the most trusted to refer wearables to their customers.

The wearables trend is a unique way for healthcare organizations to mesh with technology creators to foster potentially life-saving connections with consumers. The technology behind these use cases for wearables is being tested and produced by many players not only in the healthcare field, but also in the tech industry (we’re looking at you, Apple.) As the technology behind these wearable devices develops over the next several years and more market use cases pop up, we expect to see another big jump in market adoption.

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