Friday, October 2, 2015

Wearable Technology and the Future of Healthcare

Over the last few years, there has been a rise in wearable technology that has been augmented by appliances like the Apple Watch, FitBit and Google Glass. It now seems like this kind of tech is mainstream and no longer is something out of science fiction. Wearable technology has put an emphasis on ease and versatility but recently, there seems to be a new avenue in healthcare as wearable technology is modified to assist hospitals and doctors.1 This technology will revolutionize the medical field by allowing doctors to use Google Glass to monitor patients and communicate with other doctors. I think this is a huge step towards a reimagined healthcare system where every task can be done quicker and more efficiently.1
            In this article, it details a study on the UK healthcare system and in my opinion, the United States should be moving toward this type of innovation in the near future. As people live longer and become unhealthier, the healthcare industry around the world has been strained to find other sources to cut costs and improve their efficiency.1 With the use of this wearable technology, it is estimated that healthcare systems in the United Kingdom could save 1.6 billion dollars by using wearable technology.[1] That could be helpful in the United States as healthcare debt rises as the baby boomers grow into late-adulthood and become senior citizens.
            However, some consumers do not want this technology as it feels like “Big Brother” is watching and the UK has not developed this wearable technology idea further.1 One concern in the US was that health insurance providers would be charging extra by using information on your FitBit.2 This would be something to consider if the healthcare initiative would come to fruition.
            Also, one of the most interesting aspects was how doctors can use this technology to monitor patients in surgery and even on the go.1 Each patient can have their own wearable which doctors can use to measure their blood pressure, heart rate and from there, being able to diagnose and give helpful medical advice.1 In a video created by Phillips IntelliVue Solutions and Google, it shows the first test of the Google Glass being used to transfer and monitor patient’s vital signs in surgery so that doctor’s won’t have to look away in surgery.3 This would change the way that surgery is performed and there are other paths for this to go, like conferencing with other doctors while in surgery through the Google Glass.
             A follow up to this article would be to research the network of doctor’s that could be created through these wearables. I believe that there is an interesting way to connect hospitals and doctors so that no matter where you are, doctors could conference and share ideas while in surgery itself. The article also could have done a better job detailing what the possibilities of wearable technology in the medical diagnosis and treatment of patients.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that wearable health monitoring technology would save both patients and doctors time and money when it comes to tracking a patient's health and wellness. Doctors could give patients insight on how to live healthier lives by using the data they recieve from the patient's device; this would improve the health of the patient while giving the patient the information they need to take charge of their own health and make necessary changes. I can see how this would save the health industry money; however, I do not believe we will be able to implement this technology widely in the United States due to our current inability to provide citizens with affordable monitors. The ability for insurance companies to access your health data also proves to be an issue that I am not comfortable with yet; if you are unhealthy, they can increase your rates unfairly. Finally, I am not sure if I would be comfortable with doctors other than my own being able to access my information. Discussing a patient with other doctors could improve the quality of that patient's health care, but it could also lead to a violation of the privacy of that patient. Keeping this in mind, I agree that more information on how this data would be used is needed in order for me to form a solid opinion on these monitors.


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