Wearable technology has become increasingly prominent in society, with the use of smartwatches and fitness trackers becoming a standard in people’s lives. Wearable technology works through built-in sensors that track people’s movements along with biometrics, location and other factors, which it then combines with additional intelligence to provide live insights into their health1. Nowadays there are many options people can choose from, and they are even beginning to make a major impact in the healthcare industry.
Common examples of wearables
Smartwatches are one of the most popular products of consumer wearables. Essentially acting as a mini smartphone, it has a touchscreen display and offers a range of apps, can monitor your heart rate, receive calls and text messages, amongst other features2 . Out of the wearable technology options on the market, one study showed that a smartwatch is the top product that British people would consider buying3.
Fitness trackers are another example of wearable tech that have gained popularity in the commercial world. Designed to give people an insight into their exercise routines, with one of these you can track your daily amount of steps, the calories burned and the length of your workouts. Some even can measure the techniques of a person’s movement, which is useful for athletes such as swimmers, rowers and golfers4.
Wearable devices in healthcare
The rise of popularity in wearable devices is especially of interest to the healthcare industry as there is now the opportunity to access a pool of data from patients remotely. Having this information has the potential to be tremendously useful towards providing the right treatment, as medical professionals can provide personalised care through real-time monitoring of patients’ health information.
With the possibility to monitor data for health conditions such as vitals, medication intake and blood sugar levels, medical professionals will be able to detect any early signs of illness, and they can analyse the data to be able to see important insights5.
Since the world was affected by COVID-19, the need for healthcare professionals to be able to provide remote care greatly developed. Video consults and digital check-ups became customary, however if the idea of using wearables had been introduced into the medical field earlier on, there could have been the opportunity to monitor and manage patients’ progress from a distance6.
The future of wearable technology
As far as we can tell, this is just the beginning for the development of wearable technology. The possibilities that they offer will continue to grow, and it seems that they will become even more commonplace in our lives, as they start to become a part of treatment in healthcare systems. While there will still be obstacles that prevent this from happening in the very near future, such as security or privacy risks, the effects of the pandemic have provided strong evidence that the idea will be developed.