The United States had once declared 2015 as “the year of healthcare wearables,” while several media outlets made the same claim for 2014. This was because a lot of publications all over the world excitedly announced the revolution that was yet to come in the healthcare industry – medical wearables – for the early detection and easy monitoring of various health conditions along with value-based healthcare.
Most medical experts had already predicted a shift in medical wearables from being used for tracking steps and monitoring various health conditions to improving the overall health of the patients. Most devices such as the Apple Watch has gained a lot of popularity as, according to Apple, they can generate ECGs that are similar to single-lead ECG along with the ability to signs of atrial fibrillation – an irregular rhythm of the heart – and sinus rhythm. The device is also claimed to have equipped with emergency SOS, fall detection, athletic training as well as an app to guide its users through several calming breathing exercises.
Yet, medical wearablesare still under a lot of strain to achieve the potential of complete healthcare as it is a rapidly growing industry. The market for medical wearables is always growing and it is estimated that the medical wearable sector would witness growth from $20 billion to $70 billion by the year 2025. Along with this, Tractica has also predicted an increase in the global shipment of medical wearables from around 2.5 million units to 97.6 million units by the end of 2021, which would, in turn, generate yearly revenue of nearly $17.8 billion.
In addition to this, almost all the providers of healthcare point out wearables as an essential element of their IoT investments in healthcare. Forty-five percent of the people who responded to the popular surveys conducted in the year 2018 mentioned that they were able to see the developments of the companies as they develop more on-body devices for people.
The Future of Medical Wearables
Medicalwearablescome to the market with plenty of diverse applications. As a result of progress in miniaturization, there are a lot of innovations taking place on smart devices – they can be incorporated into clothing materials, shoes, earphones to track all the data with great accuracy. The advantage of small devices is that they use small transistors that need to consume less power – this is often a driving factor in the market of medical wearables.
One of the greatest benefits of healthcare wearables is remote patient monitoring. These devices have shifted from using devices to track steps to monitoring the health of patients, reporting the statistics and readings to the professionals, and so on. These devices often provide accurate readings on the hearth health and body temperature, and they are believed to replace many medical technologies from ECGs to defibrillators in the coming years.
The possibility of remote monitoring can often give patients better control of their lives and also the chances to improve their health. It could also help in reducing hospitalization and expensive treatments for patients who have chronic medical conditions. It is also believed that wearable devices can prevent the development of many diseases than just preventing them after the occurrence.
Several studies have pointed out the detection of various medical conditions as the greatest opportunity for connected health. Medicalwearablescan usually act as a conductor when it comes to preventative healthcare. For instance, Cyrcadia Health was found to be working with Nypro to develop bras that can detect breast cancer. The goal of this easily-wearable bras is to diagnose breast cancer in the early stages to seek treatment as early as possible.
Several technologies like the wearable bra are bringing in more changes in the industry of medicalwearablesas it has shifted from developing devices that can be worn on wrists only to developing devices that can be worn on the body as a whole – just like clothing. It is no doubt that smart clothing provides more comfort and convenience to the users, as they are durable, washable and more reliable than smartwatches.
Several pieces of research have also carried out experiments using smart socks to see whether they prevent the potentially dire effects of health conditions such as diabetes and also to measure heart rate and oxygen level in babies. They have also conducted experiments to develop sports bras that help in detecting breathing and heart rate of athletes, with the incorporation of sensors on them.
Furthermore, all these capabilities are found to be expanding from clothing to tattoos. For example, researchers at MIT and Harvard University are working on developing bio sensitive inks for tattooing that can show color changes when a person gets dehydrated or when they experience variation in blood sugar levels.
Medicalwearablesare also believed to treat chronic pain that occurs as a result of various health conditions, and neurology is considered to be one among the fastest-developing division in the market of medicalwearables as it can provide non-medicated pain relief for its users.