Wearable medical devices can be understood as being autonomous devices worn to provide medical monitoring over an extended period of time. They can be either worn as an accessory, implanted into clothing, or even attached to the skin, and are designed to be easily used even by unskilled users. They are generally made to be like and non-intrusive, and generally have non-invasive sensors and medical feedback, and wireless data transmission capabilities.
Wearable medical devices are generally made for the remote medical monitoring and management of illnesses for disabled or chronically ill patients, by providing instant data to healthcare providers for immediate intervention.
Data that is collected from these Wearable medical devices is also being used in research for the understanding of chronic debilitating illnesses, their cause and even perhaps a cure in the near future.
Benefits of Medical Wearables
There is a shifting consumer trend, with people becoming concerned about health and wellness and taking steps to proactively stay healthy, driving the growth of the wearable medical device market. Wearable medical devices offer a host of benefits for the aware user, with manufacturers catering to the individual needs of the consumer base. The first of these benefits is keeping users engaged; manufacturers are making healthcare a more involved process by way of offering the ability to monitor themselves, keeping them engaged.
Another benefit of wearable medical devices is that it allows for the monitoring of vulnerable patients from a distance. For example healthcare providers are using wearable technology to track vitals and monitor data for patients who are prone to chronic medical issues that need constant attention, but do not need to be at the hospital for constant care, like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
With the increasing demand from consumers to monitor their and the general increase in awareness of the benefits of doing so have led to wearables medical devices becoming increasingly popular in recent years, this includes devices like watches, trackers and monitoring machines being used to collect health data. Popular types of wearable medical devices include:
Smart Watches: Smart watches are being continually developed to include more features, transforming them into viable healthcare tools. An example of this is Apple’s Heart Study App, launched in 2017, which monitor’s the wearers heart rate and alerts those experiencing any abnormality.
ECG Monitors: Wearable ECG monitors, which are at the forefront of consumer electronics and medical wearables, have taken medical wearables to the next level. For instance: Withing’s Move ECG, launched in 2019, is an analogue watch with a built-in ECG that is clinically validated.
Biosensors: The wearable medical devices landscape is being transformed drastically with biosensors leading the way into innovation and product development. For instance: Phillips’ Wearable biosensors are a remote sensing device that are used to continuously monitor and measure vital signs and even posture, meant for hospital use.
Wearable Scanners for Diagnostic Purposes
Wearable medical devices have been taken one step further with research into innovative imaging devices for diagnostic purposes that are wearable. A new generation of brain scanner, that is being seen as improvements made to the Whole head magnetoencephalography (MEG) systems, is worn like a helmet and can be used to measure brain activity. It is set to revolutionize human brain imaging by being more sensitive than currently available systems.
AI Enabled Wearable Medical Devices Wearable medical devices are designed to collect health data and monitor it. And while it serves the purpose of allowing the user to keep track of various health parameters, the adoption of technological advances like Artificial Intelligence (AI) into wearable medical devices has helped them improve the quality of the consumers in various ways. For Instance: Current Health’s AI powered remote patient monitoring device, which was approved for widespread use by America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first half of 2019, measures a patient’s pulse, respiration, oxygen saturation, temperature and mobility, and provides physicians with real-time updates allowing them to take decisions almost instantly. It is being marketed as having ICU-level accuracy, so intervention is as convenient as possible.
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