Wearable technology in healthcare: examples and use cases

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Editor’s note: Alena offers examples and use cases of innovative portable sanitary devices. If you’re interested in establishing technology-based care, check out ScienceSoft’s offering IoT medical.

The global market for portable sanitary devices is expected to arrive $ 46.6 billion in 2025, compared to $ 18.4 billion in 2020. Gartner estimates that global end-user spending on portable items will grow 18.1% in 2021 over the last year. And it is not surprising, since portable technology occupies an important position in the expanding world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the healthcare field, the Wearable IoT (WIoT) is a network of smart devices used by the patient (for example, electronic patches for the skin, ECG monitors, etc.), with sensors, actuators and software connected. in the cloud that allow the collection, analysis and transmission of personal health data in real time.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase consumer interest in wearables: with 54% of American adults using digital wearables to track at least one health parameter (e.g., heart rate, temperature) in 2020, compared to 42% in 2019. The pandemic-driven wearables boom may not be easy to maintain once living conditions return to some pre-pandemic normalcy. Still, it is expected to be the number of health and fitness apps for users grow up for 2022.

Examples of portable devices in healthcare

I would like to focus on three main categories of portable medical devices: health monitoring devices, therapeutic devices, and activity monitoring devices.

Health surveillance devices

A fashionable example of smart device for health control is a smart patch for the skin. They are thin adhesive patches that contain electronic components (including sensors and actuators with proper processing, energy storage, and communication) that capture a patient’s vital elements (e.g., heart rate, body temperature, etc.) and transfer to applications for doctors i for patients.

Another example is a mobile ECG monitor. This device records a patient’s electrocardiogram using a wireless electrode that can be connected, for example, to a patient’s chest or finger. ECG data is sent to the cloud for analysis and then to a physician and patient-oriented application.

Therapeutic devices

Unlike health monitoring devices, therapeutic devices provide real-time monitoring of patient metrics directly related to disease therapy, recovery from a disease, and facilitate delivery of therapy. These devices are usually classified into pain management devices, rehabilitation devices, insulin pumps, and respiratory therapy devices.

Smart gloves, for example, help those who have lost control of their hands (e.g., after a stroke) regain movement through repeated hand and arm movements. Gloves have built-in sensors that read and quantify patients ’movements during a rehab session and transfer that data to a cloud for analysis and then add interpreted data to a therapist’s application. These data allow a physiotherapist to notice small improvements in the range of motion of a patient’s fingers and adjust therapy.

Benefit from wearable technology

ScienceSoft healthcare IT experts are ready to implement a high-quality IoMT-based solution tailored to your specific needs.

Activity monitoring devices

This group includes fitness trackers and smart watches. Although not initially intended for specialized medical use, modern activity monitoring devices offer disease-specific functions and capabilities to monitor vital signs in real time.

For example, modern smart watches are quite efficient in helping in the management of cardiovascular disease. An arm of a watch band is inflated to capture systolic and diastolic pressure, using the method of medical-grade blood pressure monitors. Data collected by a smartwatch is synchronized with an application and sent to a cloud platform for later analysis.

Fitness trackers, in turn, can monitor a user’s movement, rotation, as well as health indicators such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level. From the data captured and analyzed, the tracker connected to the application can make recommendations on eating habits, sleep schedule and general activity performed throughout the day.

However, smart watch data and fitness trackers are no considered by physicians to be suitable for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Wearables contribute to the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases. In addition, they can make routine health screening more accessible and convenient for patients. As for the drawbacks, users of portable health technology may be concerned about privacy of personal health data. The solution to this problem may be the choice in favor of HIPAA-compliant software development that implements security measures such as data encryption and data access control measures.

If you need help with any aspect of wearables-related application development, including sound data protection, we invite you to contact the ScienceSoft healthcare IT team for an initial consultation.

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