No roaring in this century’s twenties, just the fallout from COVID. However, some changes are for the better. Wearables for digital health and wellness were increasing before COVID but now digital healthcare, digital social activities, digital mental health support, and home-based fitness have even greater momentum. “Monitoring Health & Wellness Remotely: A Roadmap to Healthy Adoption,” a new 36-page report from the Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Strategies (UXS) service, investigates the current consumer healthcare devices situation, the UX challenges and how to address these issues.
Prior to COVID, home-based digital support of health and wellness of expanding ageing populations was already expanding due to:
- decreasing medical resources to support the growth in elderly patients
- advancements in machine learning to interpret raw sensor data
- advancement in biometric and environmental sensors.
With COVID restrictions, remote healthcare expanded as people and healthcare providers implemented more digital approaches for healthcare. Similar to expedited approvals for vaccines, governmental agencies also fast-tracked approvals for consumer wearables as medical devices. This allowed infrastructure development to enable the support and promotion of remote monitoring.” The report specifically investigates how regulatory bodies are addressing the rise of digital health.
To make them even more effective, smartwatch designers are also starting to combine sensors that measure multiple health biometrics. These measurements include blood pressure, heartrate, electrical heart electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, body fat, body water, sleeping, snoring, and more.
To obtain sensors for new systems, developers need to partner with academia and healthcare institutions to create easy to use passive wearables.
Separate from this report, scientists from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied 40 adults wearing a commercially available smartwatch for many months. Combining the data with standard laboratory blood tests, they could detect early signs of infections simply through changes in heart rate. There appears to be significant upside for healthcare improvements as digital approaches advance.
Image source: NIH website.