Low-cost, effective healthcare, coupled with consumers’ desire for convenience, is fueling the market for personal medical devices.
These smart devices – whether they’re wearable wristbands or watches, or even shirts and blouses – track fitness barometers, which could mean disease prevention, and may eventually diagnose an illness.
Health devices and apps and a virtual workforce could warn patients of early signs of trouble, such as an erratic heartbeat or weak pulse, and make it possible for rehabilitation to occur closer to home, which may give digitally-aware consumers greater control over their healthcare. Here are three other benefits of do-it-yourself healthcare.
With the help of more health apps, remote monitoring and consultation, people will make healthcare their own, even tailoring their own health and fitness plans, which physicians could oversee and help guide by monitoring them remotely. With the convenience of smartphones and tablets, they’ll essentially harness existing capabilities that better help channel outcomes.
High-tech and consumer companies are responding to the uptick in digital health apps and devices, and it’s a natural fit. At the 2014 U.S. Open, Ralph Lauren unveiled its high-performance, fashion-forward Polo Tech shirt. The Ralph Lauren Polo Tech compression shirt features sensors knitted into the core of the product that read biological and physiological information, track movement and direction and gauge stress level and energy output.
The Apple iWatch, hitting the market April 24, features a heart rate sensor that records and transmits the heartbeat. Plus, at $10,000 for the highest-end version, consumers can match their need for convenience with their (possible) desire for luxury technology.
Global competitions like the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize, where tech innovators compete to generate a smart personal device that will noninvasively diagnose more than a dozen conditions and measure several vital signs in real time, are underway – and everywhere. The final judging round in the $10 million Qualcomm prize will take place later in 2015. Ultimately, the device they’re looking for will collect large volumes of data by taking continuous measurements using wireless sensors, imaging technologies and portable, non-invasive diagnostic mechanisms.
Similarly, the annual American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council's (ACT-IAC) Igniting Innovation awards discover and propel innovative app and device projects in the digital healthcare space.
If device developers, hospitals, and insurance companies are as smart as all of these apps and devices, they’ll address the needs of digitally-motivated consumers who are trying to better their health, by continuing to offer incentives for harnessing these novel technologies.