Increasing Importance of Wearable Tech in Today's Healthcare

Increasing Importance of Wearable Tech in Today's Healthcare

Alex D'Souza, Healthcare Tech Outlook | Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Wearable technology is one of the most effective ways of achieving interoperability. Over the past few years, more wearables have moved to real-time patient monitoring—predominantly due to lower sensor prices, advances in IoT, and increased availability of open-source APIs, frameworks, and libraries that enable fast and cost-effective software product development.

For instance, cancer-monitoring ITBra patches which help to detect metabolic changes in heat correlate with breast tumor cellular activity; Owlet baby monitoring sock tracks oxygen levels, sleep, and heart rate of a baby; the L’Oreal UV helps to measure the level of UV exposure are few of the latest medical wearable devices.

The superpower of medical wearables comes from the ability to gather valuable information. Healthcare professionals may perhaps achieve greater transparency in daily operations and improve patient outcomes if the sensor data is analyzed and used in the precise approach.

Accurate identification and matching of patients with EHRs are essential for delivery and coordination of healthcare, both within and across a specific medical institution. Nearly two million deaths occur each year in the U.S. alone due to medical errors, and 58 percent result from identity errors. Researchers of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have stated that deaths from medical errors can be responsible for more than a quarter of a million deaths per year.

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One of the first healthcare organizations to leverage the power of wearables to improve patient identity management was the UK-based Heartlands Hospital, which provides healthcare services to over half a million people annually. In order to increase the efficiency of their operating theaters, the hospital adopted the solutions from Zebra Technologies; the proposed solutions featured printed wristbands with RFID tags containing healthcare records, digital patient images, and image processing capabilities software.

The system required clinicians to scan the wristbands of patients using PDAs in pre-surgery checks, and thus reducing misidentifications and providing up-to-date information on the health of a patient. Implementing the RFID-based solution helped the hospital reduce identity errors to zero and perform one extra daily surgery—this helped them generate a good amount of money. The wearables are already replacing traditional drugs and therapies; and in the coming years, they are expected to highly influence the healthcare industry.

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