The Fitbit has been around since its inception in 2007, and the entire market of modern wearables followed its release. Currently, roughly 21% of the US population owns wearable technology, but according to Ben Wood, an analyst from CCS Insight, “the reality is these devices have stalled in the marketplace.” How do current healthcare systems benefit from this popular platform, and what is the next step in wearable electronics?
The biggest pro of health wearables is their instantaneous single-parameter measurement, transmission, and collection of data. Smart wearables have the potential to offer an unobtrusive, 24/7 platform for specialized health services. Not only is it accessible and high-quality monitoring for potential patients, but it is also a cost-effective solution. The current technological development is of a high level; however, several issues still remain open.
Beyond advances in technology, the real challenge that prevents the effectiveness of wearables is the clinical validation and flow of data into electronic health record (EHR) systems. Much of the information stored on these devices is simply not configured to a format that physicians can use. While there is software available that can sync the two systems, this process is often too slow or cumbersome for potential time constraints.
Standardization and interoperability in the succeeding generation of smartwatches and devices is the next big step towards improving a patient’s lifestyle. It is very important to have simultaneous access to different kinds of health-related data, such as patient’s health record. This would give health professionals the much needed ability to remotely monitor and treat the health of an individual according to their personal health status. Easy communication between the device to the health provider is a step towards improving disease prevention and rehabilitation standards.