‘We think technology should work for you — to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.’ – Google Glass mission statement, 2012
Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed technology transform the healthcare industry. From finding better ways to deliver patient care to developing drugs and devices to treat and manage conditions, technology continues to improve health on a global scale.
One avenue in particular has seen tremendous growth: digital wearables. First made popular by fitness companies, products like the Fitbit have conventionalized the practice of wearing devices.
What is Wearable Technology?
Wearable technology consists of a sensor or chip that sits on or inside our bodies and offers biometric data. Often times, these devices are connected to an app that helps users track and analyze the collected information. While creating devices for the healthcare industry requires additional regulatory conditions, the market continues to expand. Here’s a look at a few of the current devices on the market today.
Google Smart Contact Lens
In 2014, Google partnered with healthcare specialist Novartis to design an innovative contact lenses that monitors glucose levels by analyzing tears. The lenses feature glitter-sized chips and sensors to track levels for patients suffering from diabetes.
Tech company Chaotic Moon has developed a temporary electronic tattoo, composed of conductive paint that sits on top of a user’s skin. This biosensor has the ability to ‘collect, store, and send’ biometric data to monitor an individual’s vitals at all time. While the tattoo’s audience may be small–the design hits at a consumer sweet-spot. The profile is slimmer than a Fitbit-like bracelet, yet not as intrusive as a device embedded under one’s skin.
Leaf Healthcare Ulcer Sensor
By clipping this wearable onto a hospital patient, nurses are able to track the frequency of how often they turn their patients. This can be critical in the development of ulcers, a common condition that occurs when patients spend too much time lying in one position. The data is sent wirelessly to monitoring systems and can send professionals alerts when a patient needs to be shifted.
HealthPatch MD offers a revolutionary product to monitor the levels of a patient, making the device a critical asset for the future of remote health care. The set-up is simple–a reusable sensor and a disposable patch work together to measure a patient’s heart and respiratory rate, skin temperature, activity detection, and body posture.
Helius by Proteus Digital Health
How can a pill monitor the health of a patient? It can’t–unless it’s embedded with a tiny sensor. Meet the Helius, a pioneer in the world of federally-regulated devices. The pill works in tandem with a patch worn on the patient’s torso. It’s the first of its kind to measure and share patient information, including vitals and medication taking.
Vitaliti by Cloud DXOne day, technology will be able to provide an automated diagnosis of medical conditions. For now, the Vitaliti offers a close alternative. The wearable device and base can diagnose up to sixteen medical conditions with a single sample of saliva. And the results are completed in a fraction of the time it takes for standard analysis. The device is set to be released in 2017 and stands to revolutionize global healthcare in a big way.
It’s predicted that over the next few years the market for bio-wearables in the healthcare industry will explode. We’ll be able to treat patients more effectively. We’ll be able to monitor conditions more closely. And with the right mindset, we’ll be able to close the global gaps in healthcare for good.