Medical Technology: Top 10 Medical Wearable Devices we love of 2016
Medical Technology: Top 10 Medical Wearable Devices we love of 2016
by Greta Kviklyte
Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.
posted on Aug 23, 2016, at 9:39 pm
FLASHBACK TO 1938: Aurex Corp., an electronics manufacturer based in Chicago, develops the first type of medical wearable technology ever, taking the first major stride in what was to become one of the most highly anticipated, fastest growing and life-altering industries in medicine… wearable technology. Their hearing aid wasn’t glamorous with its vacuum tubing and visible wires, and certainly didn’t connect with your smartphone, but it changed people’s worlds and shifted their minds.
The industry of wearable technology, which includes smartwatches, fitness gadgets, stents, infotainment devices and medical devices, is growing fast. The market for medical wearable technology is expected to grow a whopping 411 million units by the year 2020. About 1 in 5 Americans currently own some type of wearable device, mostly smartwatches or fitness bands, and believe that wearable technology can increase life expectancy by up to 10 years.
Why are wearables important in medicine? They are beneficial for everyone – not just the consumer. Health care professionals, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and patients are benefiting from the convenience, accuracy and punctuality of these revolutionary devices. A Northwestern University of Professional Studies report stated that wearable technology and remote patient monitoring technologies can cut hospital costs by $200 billion over the next 25 years.
Medical wearables target several conditions, from sports bras that screen for breast cancers to apps that assist with concussion management. Here at Advanced Medical Certification, however, we can’t get enough of medical wearables specific to cardiology. In fact, medical devices tend to target the four most popular categories: congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and obstructive pulmonary disease, according to an article by InformationWeek Healthcare.
Top 10 Medical Wearable Devices we love of 2016
Heart rate monitors for athletic training purposes aren’t a new type of wearable technology, but a new system, known as Qardio, is taking the stage as the “world’s most advanced heart rate monitor” for a good reason. Most heart rate monitors capture just some beats over the course of use, then averages them out to create a good estimate on workout data. Qardio, however, captures every single beat and respiration rate, two essential components of accuracy.
In addition, Qardio is currently in review for FDA-approval, meaning it can be used by medical doctors. In addition, the it monitors cadence, oscillation, running form and stress levels. Talk about a finely-tuned fitness plan!
Biotricity is a medical technology company that specializes in wearable cardiac monitoring and currently offers two services for both physicians and consumers. Biolife, the device for consumers, is a health and lifestyle monitor, much like a fitness tracker, but goes beyond the basics. Biolife measures everything from heart rhythm, calories, respiration, physical activity to temperature and helps the user to establish a lifestyle and fitness plan to reach individualistic goals.
It’s been created with a third-party alongside the expertise of physicians and medical researchers, and focuses on preventative care measures for the best interest of the consumer.
If you’re integrated in the medical field, you’ve probably used a pulse oximeter several times. The WristOX2 is just that, but so much more, and has been designed for patients with asthma at high risk for COPD or congestive heart failure. The extensive monitoring focuses on oxygenation and extensive heart rate monitoring. Plus, they’re available at home!
For many with chronic pain, taking a lifelong prescription is the only solution. Quell is a 100% drug-free pain relief wearable gadget that works by sending small electrical pulses from the calf to the brain to reduce or eliminate pain. It’s FDA-approved, physician-recommended, and can be worn anytime of the day whenever needed. With a simple click of a button, individuals no longer have to suffer from chronic pain!
Google’s Smart Contact Lenses
What do contact lenses and diabetes have in common? You wouldn’t think anything at all, but researchers at Google have created contact lenses that measure glucose levels in patients with diabetes. These innovative smart lenses feature sensors that use tear fluid through a wireless hair-thin antenna to give users access to their blood sugar levels throughout the entire day.
Like many other featured technologies, the technology is integrated into a smartphone through an app. The app notifies the user when their blood sugar levels cross a certain threshold, even notifying the users physician if necessary.
Bodytel Glucotel System
For individuals with chronic illness such as diabetes, trips to the doctor are often frequent. Bodytel Glucotel is an at home system that measures blood glucose, blood pressure meter, and has a scale. The device is integrated with Bluetooth technology, allowing patients to receive their information in real-time and on their smartphones and tablets. In addition, the information can be sent to a doctor, and users and physicians can receive alerts when measurements go beyond a threshold.
Stroke Therapy Sleeve
Still in the making, lead researcher Jane Burridge from the University of South Hampton and Imperial College London is cooking something revolutionary for stroke patients. A therapeutic sleeve is worn to measure how a patient’s muscles are reacting to home therapy. The sleeve is the first technology to use mechanomyogrpahy (ultra-sensitive microphones) sensors. The results will allow for doctors and patients to monitor recovery and improve mobility faster. Plus, the sleeve will lower health care costs, something much needed in the expensive world of health care.
Smart Pills and Edible Electronics
Imagine taking an electronic pill alongside your daily dose of vitamins every morning. Bizarre, right? Smart pills are already curing illness and preventing disease without the instructive techniques of surgery. Powered by charged ions in the digestive tract, smart pills will be just as edible as the foods and medications we take everyday.
Research for smart pills and edible electronics has been around for awhile, but recently the FDA approved of the first smart pill known as Ingestion Event Marker (IEM) by company Proteus, which gives digital feedback to patients and caregivers.
Harvard’s Bionic Cardiac Patch
Imagine a device that automatically re-generates working tissues during an emergency, such as a heart attack, that can save your life. That is exactly what researchers at Harvard University are creating. A bionic cardiac patch has been developed that engineers new muscle tissue to replace damaged muscle during cardiac emergency by seeding cardiac cell technology into the patch.
The patch would be implanted and act similar to that of a pacemaker, but be much less intrusive, detecting arrhythmia quicker and delivering less intense voltages. The patch has also been developed for pharmaceutical companies to better develop drugs.
Veta (EpiPen Holder)
When an individual has a serious medical condition, forgetting or remembering medication can be the difference between life and death. Individuals who are at risk for anaphylaxis need to take an EpiPen and/or other medications along with them. The Veta is an EpiPen case that has been developed to remind patients to take their medications, and alerts friends, family and loved ones if the medication has been removed due to an emergency.
The smart case also features easy-to-understand instructions on correct dosage and is fully integrated with smartphone technology, which means users can access the information at anytime. The system is relatively cheap, too, offering even more peace of mind.
Medical Wearable Technology of 2016 is Shaping our Future
Medical wearable technology has become an indispensable part of modern medicine with their convenience, functionality, and ease of use. We are excited to see what the future of medical technology holds, and are eager to share updates on all of these devices and companies in the future!
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