Not too long ago, the only way to check your heart rate was to hold your wrist and count. Today you look at your wearable fitness wristband. Recent innovations in IoT and wearables are solving big healthcare challenges.
Even if you don’t have wearables, your smartphone tracks your fitness. It knows the number of steps you take, calories you burn, how long you sleep, and can even measure your heart rate. Wearable tech and IoT provides patient data that is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
This article offers a view on how wearables solve healthcare challenges of the past. And how it may create new obstacles for 2019.
Current Technology Innovations in Healthcare
The healthcare industries current state of innovation is stalled, but not for long. The most current innovation is telehealth. Patients can communicate with a medical professional from your computer.
Many providers partner with the Mayo Clinic to offer remote medical consultations online. A video call from your computer, tablet, or smartphone lets the doctor take a look at your symptoms.
They assess the nature of your symptoms through the camera of the device. They can even write you a prescription and send it to the nearest pharmacy.
Telehealth services are the future of healthcare. And the expansion will come from monitoring of a patient’s wearable technology.
What is IoT and Wearable Technology?
The internet of things (IoT) is everything that connects to the internet. It includes your phone, smart TV, computer, smart-enabled appliances, and more.
IoT is the compilation of objects, tools, and appliances you interact with on a daily basis that operates via an internet connection.
Wearable technology is accessories that transmit user information over the internet. While your phone is IoT, your Fitbit is wearable tech and they both communicate with each other over an internet connection.
Examples of popular wearable technology include smartwatches, headbands, glasses, and more. Wearable technology contains sensors that relay biometric information to a corresponding software program.
Healthcare Challenges in 2019
Many problems face the healthcare industry in 2019. Many are the same as they have been for many years. But, now, the tools with which to solve these challenges are available to consumers and healthcare professionals.
The more available technology is to consumers, the more resources with which problems can be solved. So, here are the biggest issues for healthcare and patients that wearables and IoT can solve in 2019:
Affordability of Healthcare
The expense of health care coverage is the most present danger facing patients. Whether you are on the Affordable Care Act or private insurance, premiums and co-pays are on the rise. The less treatment you need the less your insurance has to pay, yet you still pay the same price to the insurance no matter how much treatment you need.
One way that wearables can lower the cost of healthcare is by offering incentives for healthy actions.
Healthy lifestyle choices reduce insurers burden of coverage. Ultimately, healthy choices might result in a discount. It might be scary, but physical data, like how much exercise you do and the caloric content of your diet, are monitorable metrics.
Real-time biometric data can be shared with your health care coverage provider. It has the potential to individualize health coverage options, based on the health of your lifestyle.
Access to In-Home Senior Care
Senior citizens with age-based ailments are often forced out of their independence on account of their growing need for care. In-home senior care is expensive and unaffordable for many seniors. But, smart devices and connected appliances are a revolution for digital in-home senior care.
With the innovation of smart-home hubs, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, seniors are able to keep their independence at home. The more that AI and smart-home innovation advances, the more reliable the automated care that seniors can receive from home.
Repeat Hospitalization for Pre-existing Conditions
After a patient’s hospital visit, the hospital gets in trouble for each readmission of that patient. The problem for many patients is not knowing the difference between benign symptoms, and that which dictates a hospital visit.
Wearable technology can decrease hospitals readmission rate by remote monitoring a patient’s biometrics.
Wearables and IoT Solving Healthcare Challenges
Some of the most innovative solutions to healthcare challenges in 2019 are being solved by wearables and IoT. And there are some brand new wearable smart devices and fitness trackers on the market for consumers.
Smart Contact Lenses
You have heard of smart glasses, like Google Glass. In 2019, digital contacts are going to glow smart glasses out of the water. These contacts do much more than simply take pictures.
Unlike smart glasses, smart contacts have utility in healthcare. The user generates power for the device by blinking, causing an electrical current to power the lens.
The first of this technology is digital contact lenses with real-time glucose monitoring for diabetics. The current front runner for smart contacts is Alphabet. Google’s parent company is deep in the research and development of digital lenses.
Wearables and IoT offer affordable, non-invasive, and preventative solutions to healthcare challenges. They provide doctors with real-time patient information. At the end of the day, IoT and wearables solve more challenges than they create.
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