Wearables & The Importance of Technological Disruption in the Medical Field

With the rapid change in wearables taking place in the medical, wellness, and fitness markets, are you ready to take control of your health and become a better version of yourself?

As the wearable technology ecosystem advances, we are headed towards a future where we will be able to choose whether to have a device in our hand or an implant in our brain. It is a destiny recognised for its possibilities by various industries who continue to observe the importance of investment in this space. With rapid change taking place, we are seeing quite a lot of changes in the medical, wellness, and fitness markets, where the exploration of wearable devices, applications, and services is taking us in the direction where we will be able to take control of our health so we can become a better version of ourselves.

Prevention, Monitoring, Treatment and The Quantified Self

A recent report by ResearchAndMarkets.com stated that for the period 2019 – 2024, the medical, wellness and fitness industries will be investing in the future of wearable technology in healthcare including future devices such as implantables. The report recognised an increase in demand for improving supply factors that include developments in electronics miniaturisation and innovation. Confirming the fact that we are headed towards a tomorrow where we will be able to turn to wearable healthcare devices to enhance our functionality.

“We are headed towards a tomorrow where we will be able to turn to wearable healthcare devices to enhance our functionality. “

As the wheels of innovation continue to turn, we should come to expect our wearable healthcare devices to communicate autonomously and monitor systems for both real-time decision making and data gathering for future analysis. On this, the report states: “Secure Machine-to-Machine (M2M) enabled data transport, and IoT system connectivity facilitates the integration of healthcare info with data analytics solutions. Advanced healthcare data management solutions, supported by artificial intelligence, are capable of processing massive amounts of healthcare information, including unstructured data acquired from many different sources and contexts.”

When it comes to prevention, monitoring, and treatment, one of the core reasons for wearables in healthcare is to transmit information for medical support from a licensed professional. However, there is another way which comes in the shape of the quantified self in healthcare and the incorporation of technology into data acquisition. Designed to appeal to the Do it Yourself tribe, quantified self in healthcare gives them the opportunity to use wearables to self-monitor and self-report their wellbeing.

The Emerging Field of Implantables

In the last couple of years, consumers have started to get used to the idea of wearing wearable devices that collect information on their person. Now as technology continues to shrink, we are starting to evolve past wearing them on our body and we are now looking to having them implanted inside our body instead. Considered to be the next logical step in the development of wearable technology, I imagine that this is something that will most likely appeal more to early adopters and those with medical conditions more than the mainstream consumer. Personally, I think it is an exciting prospect to be able to imagine sensors being placed at specific parts of your body to communicate with an overall Body Area Network system. For the squeamish, who prefer a less intrusive method, there is the option of the technology being incorporated into apparel instead.

Bringing it back to implantables, implantable medical technology is becoming one of the key growth areas for wearable healthcare devices integration. The good news is that most of us are already familiar with devices such as pacemakers that are implanted into the body to monitor a person’s fundamental wellness levels. Looking at the bigger picture, the pacemaker was just the beginning of something revolutionary especially when it comes to the role that wearables and implantable technologies will play in our overall health. As we head towards the miniaturisation of monitoring devices, we have to bear in mind that because mass-personalisation demands it, it is going to be less about ‘if’ and more about ‘when’.

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As wearable technology continues to disrupt the medical field, the report determined that when it comes to healthcare-related skin patches market, it will reach $630M by 2024, growing at 20.2% CAGR and that wearable device for vital signs monitoring will be $980M market by 2024, growing at 21.7% CAGR. As innovation in this space continues to go full throttle, I am excited. Just the idea of a future where wearable devices and IoT will reduce human intervention in healthcare by enabling context-based automation gives me goosebumps. But before I get my pom-poms out, let’s not forget to first talk about issues like data security and privacy, especially when it comes to implantable technologies.

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