Wearable technology usually conjures images of FitBits that count the number of steps taken each day and Apple Watches that track general movement.
A growing number of medical practitioners however, are viewing the technology in a new light – in its potential to improve care in and around hospitals. Wearable technology of the future enables doctors to monitor the vitals of both hospitalised patients and those recently discharged, less invasively.
“They’re being validated,” says Dr Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in California, America, “not just if they measure data accurately; but if they help people, with improved outcomes and at hopefully remarkably lower costs.”
Although there will be concerns with privacy and patient’s trust in non-human care, below are five examples that highlight the power of wearable technology in healthcare delivery.
#1. Vest for heart failure
The SensiVest enables doctors to be alerted when previous patients of heart failure have worsening symptoms. Photo credit: Trendhunter
The first of such devices is the SensiVest. Created by cardiologists at the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital in Ohio, America, it is hoped that it will warn doctors of when previous patients of heart failure have worsening symptoms.
Based on military technology, the vest measures the level of fluid in patients’ lungs and sends the information to doctor’s computers within 90 seconds. Should there be a noticeable increase in the lung fluid, doctors can then adjust medication for the patient before it becomes an emergency.
“It prevents re-admissions for patients,” Dr Rami Kahwash, one of the doctors testing the vests said. “That can save health care costs for hospitals,” he added.
The vest is currently undergoing clinical trials.
#2. Wristband that detects seizures
Empatica’s wristband, called Embrace, is a medical device for monitoring stress and seizures. Photo credit:…