Smart Wearables: Doctors’ New Tech Assistant in 2015

Google Glass Wearables
More and more wearables that are focused on providing health assistance are expected this year and many doctors are willing to jump into the trend.

With its compact design and powerful features, mobile technology (mTech) has shaped and revolutionized various industries including the medical sector. Although various studies have shown the negative effects of these devices, many doctors and medical students are looking forward to maximize these innovations to provide faster, more reliable, and real-time remote assistance to their patients.

Apart from smartphones and tablets, there are wearables that are more focused on providing health data, such as the next wave of fitness bands and smartwatches that are set to be released this year. In fact, Gartner reported that consumers will purchase more smart wristwatches in 2015 as it provides the same heart monitoring features and mobile functionalities in one gadget. Similarly, these devices will help doctors in gathering data in real-time and assisting patients remotely wherever they may be (so long as there is an internet connection). In this post, let’s have a look at this blossoming trend in medicine and health industry.

Why wearables over other devices?
Here are the main reasons why wearables will be the next big thing in medical history:

• Faster dissemination of data – With its ability to connect to the internet, data saved via its Cloud service or internal memory are easily retrievable and shared instantly. Doctor to patient and vice versa, including doctor to doctor, data can be done remotely without the need to go to the hospital. Practitioners will be able to assist their patients instantly wherever they are. A good example was the one demonstrated by O2 when they assisted the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) organization in reducing the cost, while providing efficient and effective medical assistance to people in remote areas through mobile devices (voice, internet, and video).

• Compact, presentable design – One of its unique features is its design and compact features. Without the need to pull out your handset, you will be able to work with your wearable gadget instantly as you wear it similar to your other accessories such as your bracelets, watch, and eye glasses.

• Reliable measurement – The measuring technology (chipset and other hardware) incorporated in these devices are similar to the personal computers and other mobile devices out there. It is up to date and reliable as it receives real-time updates whenever connected to Wi-fi or data connection.

• Powerful functionalities – Apart from operating as a heart monitor and calculating health-related data, most wearables today also function similarly to smartphones with the ability to make and receive calls and texts, as well as connect to the internet and get immediate information online.

Top wearables in the health sector
Although various websites have highlighted smartphones and tablets fit for medical practitioners, we want to introduce you to some of the best wearables that are set to revolutionize the industry for good.

1. Google Glass – In early 2014, we witnessed the consumer release of the Google Glass that is said to offer its user mobile features via voice command and augmented reality. It has been featured several times online as the next mTech for hospital and medical practitioners. A Stanford study showed that it can make surgeons perform better as they “receive the data while remaining hands-on with patients.” A Time.com article said that this gadget will also assist doctors in recording, storing, and retrieving their patients’ data, allowing them to provide faster, real-time assistance.

2. Health bands and watches – Smartwatches aren’t surprising anymore as some of the top mobile brands have presented their own modern timepieces. They also have fitness bands that are able to provide us with the basic about out health such as heart rate, number of steps, stress levels and more. The upcoming bands and watches to be presented at the International Consumer Electronic Show 2015 will focus more on fitness and wellness such as Empatica’s Embrace that aims to assist epileptic patients in getting immediate assistance when an attack happens. It also comes with an app that calculates the stress level, sleep patterns, and other activities logged in a digital diary.

3. Smart contact lens – Apart from the Google Glass, the search engine company recently made partnership with pharmaceutical firm Novartis in creating the world’s first Smart contact lens that is said to assist people with Diabetes in measuring their blood sugar non-invasively. It calculates blood sugar through the tear of the user, then send the data through its paired app on their handset.

Since these devices are still on its developmental stage, we cannot tell for sure whether hospitals and all medical practitioners will support its revolutionary drive to faster health assistance. But, it’s good to know that many doctors are willing to jump into this wearable trend soon. How do you expect these new wave of mTech to shape your hospital experience?

(Photo credit: scottamyx scottamyx via Flickr Creative Commons)

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