Wearable health-care devices, otherwise known as wearable technology, wearable tech, and clinical wearables, are the hottest items on the market. Among the stakeholders interested in expanding the demand and supply of wearable health-care devices are doctors, insurance companies, employers, patients who pay for their own medical bills, and patients everywhere. In an era championing preventive medicine, early detection, and physical and health fitness, and in the post-millennium when even the average Joe has become a techie, the popularity of wearable tech is not surprising.
Not only have digital medical devices become fashionable and trendy, but they are being cited by experts as a boon to the health-care industry as a whole, reducing hospital stays, emergency room visits, doctor’s office visits, work downtime, and costs. In fact, a growing number of health insurance providers are offering reward incentives and reducing premiums to those who successfully invest in specified wearables.
What exactly are wearable health devices? Used to monitor patients remotely via state-of-the-art technical innovations, digital sensors capture patients’ personal information and transmit it via computer or mobile apps to health-care professionals who then analyze the results and advise patients accordingly. Examples include mobile heart monitors, insulin pumps, and pace makers, as well as sleep apnea masks, fitness-tracking devices, and medical devices that measure temperature, blood pressure, glucose, body fat, weight, drug levels, toxins, and more.
Helping to monitor vital signs and treat symptoms from afar, the new-fangled wearable devices also present new challenges to health-care providers. Chief among these are safety and security concerns regarding capturing and transmitting personal health information, invasion of privacy breaches, protection of devices from malware attacks and hackers, and the question of who is licensed to monitor and analyze the flowing stream of data. Additional issues include lack of government regulations concerning manufacturer warranties and liabilities, health-care device malfunctions, repair and maintenance, and hardware or connectivity problems.