Wearable Technology in Healthcare


Abhinav Raj

Abhinav Raj, Writer

Innovation in wearable tech has made it possible for healthcare practitioners to monitor health markers, detect anomalies and improve patient care.

Two years after 2020, it’s becoming obvious that the boom of wearable technology for health and wellness wasn’t just a short-lived fad. 

With a developmental push from the novel coronavirus pandemic, wearable technology has entered the healthcare industry and is revolutionizing patient safety, wellbeing, and quality of life. Smartwatches, smart patches, and other fabric-based wearables collect data that provide healthcare practitioners valuable insight—enabling swift medical intervention that saves lives. 

Here’s why the wearable technology market will be worth over $235,312 million by the end of 2028. 

Wearables Enable Real-Time Patient Monitoring, Remotely 

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Pandemic-driven growth in wearable tech has also subsequently expedited the adoption of smart devices in the healthcare industry. A multitude of wearable monitoring devices can enable doctors to remotely monitor signs of physiological deterioration that require urgent medical attention, such as low oxygen levels, respiration rates, and insufficient (or excess) glucose levels for diabetic patients. 

The data obtained through smart devices can be transmitted to cloud servers. Clinicians with access to the data can diagnose problematic readings in real-time and take timely action—without the need for hospitalization. 

Wearables Improve Quality of Life for Patients 

Photo by Eren Li on Pexels

While most wearable gadgets come in the form of accessories such as smartwatches, goggles and wristbands, product visionaries have developed fabric-based wearables that help caregivers improve the quality of life for patients. Palarum’s PUP (Patient is UP) smart sock wearable device is one such device that sends a prompt notification to caregivers whenever a patient is attempting to get out of their beds unattended.  

According to the CDC, around 30-60% of older adults experience a fall every year. About 10% of the falls lead to hospitalization, out of which 20% can cause death. Palarum’s smart wearable sock can dramatically reduce the risk of patient falls. 

The smart sock sends a notification whenever a patient is up, which can be received on common IoT devices, such as an iPhone or an iPad. According to the firm, the use of the smart sock has led to an 80% reduction in patient falls which keeps them safe from physical injury and fractures. 

Wearable Tech Is Helping People Take Charge of Their Health  

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

In the last two years, the number of health and wellness features on wearable smart devices has seen a dramatic rise.

Vital-sign monitoring features have been on the rise in consumer tech products ever since Apple Inc. unveiled its Watch Series 6 with ECG and oxygen-level sensors. However, one comes to wonder whether these features are useful for the users—or simply a marketing gimmick. 

The popular view appears to be the former. 

According to research by Software Advice, 86% of patients have believed that wearable devices improve health outcomes by empowering them to make informed health decisions. 

“Wearable devices are a modern marvel that give actionable health insights to patients and doctors,” said the Associate Principal Medical Analyst for Software, Lisa Hedges, in an interview with Business Wire. 

“Patients cited invaluable awareness of their specific health issues, thus creating incentive to make conscious lifestyle changes and increase proactivity on medication management.” 

By allowing the collection, monitoring and interpretation of data, wearable technology is making people more aware of the changes in their body—enabling proportionate action and response that make lives better. 

Year after year, day after day, wearable tech is touching more aspects of life and changing it for the better of mankind. 

Is this change here to stay?