- Impact of wearable devices on the healthcare industry
- Benefits of integrating medical wearable devices
- Challenges of medical wearables integration
In recent years, wearable technologies have become part of our life and are very popular with users. Many people like wearable fitness trackers and Sony has even created a wearable air conditioner! Healthcare is now embracing this technological advancement to improve patient care, and wearable health monitoring devices can now be integrated into various healthcare activities like electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Wearable devices, aka wearables, are mini-computers with built-in sensors that measure environmental parameters, physical indicators like steps walked, and the level of activity. In this case, the devices are connected to a network and also synchronized with a computer or smartphone. Wearable technologies include fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart goggles, and even wardrobe items such as smart gloves that translate sign language into text.
An electronic health record (EHR) “is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. While an EHR does contain the medical and treatment histories of patients, an EHR system is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care.”
Let’s find out how wearable technologies can be integrated into healthcare and EHRs.
Impact of wearable devices on the healthcare industry
Healthcare apps have become very popular with both doctors and patients, and it’s evident that healthcare has gone mobile. This has led to an increased demand for wearable technologies. In healthcare, wearable technologies can improve patient care.
There are a variety of options that wearable monitoring technologies can offer to the healthcare industry. Some wearables help with the maintenance of health conditions, they can prevent disease and can also help patients recover.
Healthcare wearable technologies are all about tracking. They track the recovery progress by allowing doctors to see how the patient improves. Today, wearable monitoring devices are also used for fitness goals. Many people enjoy using weight loss wearable tech such as step trackers or fitness apps with exercise and diet suggestions.
Benefits of integrating medical wearable devices
The main advantage of wearable technologies for a doctor is convenience. They offer an opportunity to record a patient’s data and track health conditions. Here are some ways they are used:
- Rehabilitation and health maintenance. Tracking trends through wearable technology saves time and cost for hospitals and is convenient for patients. During rehabilitation, patients must be constantly monitored and with wearable technologies, this process has become more efficient. First, the patients can have rehab outside the hospital environment, and this reduces the cost of a patient’s in-hospital care. Second, monitoring is more effective as tracking a patient's health and rehabilitation processes are easier with wearable medical technologies. This results in more accurate data about the patient.
- Physical health activity monitoring. Wearable fitness trackers or other wearable health tracker technologies are good for those who want to track sports activities. This is not only about tracking steps or fitness training, but also about tracking the patient’s overall movement and vitals.
- Mental status monitoring. This is a new domain for wearable devices. It’s possible to monitor mental behavior and detect human psychology status as wearable health technology is equipped with sensors that track the mental health of the patient. Some sensors even can track heartbeat, body temperature, blood pressure, and other vital signs through wearable monitoring devices.
- Education. Medical education is another benefit of wearable devices in healthcare, as you can easily get all necessary information, essays, articles, case studies, and other research from your smartphone.
- Integration into EHR. According to Primarycare, “the integration of patient-generated fitness or medical data with big data such as prevailing health data into the EMR along with other biological and genetic data is very powerful and robust.”
Challenges of medical wearables integration
The challenges of wearable technology in healthcare integrations include the cost for medical organizations, and not everyone can afford to implement them. Patients may be uncomfortable using wearable technology, as they can be quite heavy. These technologies are assembled with different components in order to be attached to the body.
- Reliability and validity. There is no proof that wearable technologies are always accurate as there are variations in data.
- Privacy and security of personal medical data. Users have some data privacy concerns as they do not own their own data. Also, when installing apps, users need to give access to personal data and there is always a danger of scams and data loss.
- Interoperability and connectivity. In health wearable technologies, there is a lack of system interoperability and connectivity because the integration of patient data through wearable tech is a relatively new area in health.
- Data overload. There is too much personal data on health conditions that wearable health monitoring devices record. It can cause stress to patients and can create a feeling of over-monitoring. Also, the medical community can not handle all this data.
Globally, more than 325 million people have wearable connected devices, and more than 2.5 billion have smartphones. The use of wearable devices in clinical trials can provide tremendous benefits, but there are also challenges you need to take into consideration.
If you are wondering how to improve your hospital workflow via integrating wearable devices into your EHR system, then you need a reliable and skilled development partner who has tech experience with integrations of healthcare products.
Archer Software has more than 20 years of experience in building digital transformation. Contact us at email@example.com and let us build a perfect solution together!