It looks like the future of mHealth wearables is poised and ready to shake things up in the healthcare industry, but is the market prepared for the big changes that are coming?
The effects of digital trends are hitting the healthcare market hard and the industry as we currently know it will soon rapidly change. According to market research, by the end of 2015 investors are expected to commit more than $1 billion to wearable technology startup companies. It’s also projected that by the end of 2016, the entire wearable technology market will gross almost $2 billion in revenues.
All of that money amasses to one key takeaway: the future of mHealth wearables is looking very bright.
Not only that, but big data, sensors and connected devices have all recently converged to allow entrepreneurs to re-imagine healthcare from the ground up. There are new startups and companies moving into the space and they’re using innovative techniques to impact healthcare and change health outcomes in ways this industry has never seen before.
New technology developments
With any good industry shakeup, the availability of exciting new products is something to look forward to. Some interesting new technology developments include:
FitBit and Jawbone
These two companies will continue to focus mainly on wearable health and fitness gadgets. While these gadgets are expected to have an explosive year in 2016, FitBit wearables are reportedly seeing a surge as we close out 2015.
This company is dedicated to empowering better decisions with objective biosensor data that improves outcomes, and saves money. They now have a wearable headband and software platform that focuses on brain injury detection.
Developed by a team lead by Dr. Leon Eisen, the Oxitone watch monitors blood oxygen wirelessly. The idea came to Dr. Eisen after his father suffered from a heart attack three hours after being released from surgery. Major heart attacks and other illnesses can be prevented so long as the Oxitone watch is monitoring the wearer’s heart.
Another company leading the charge with game-changing wearables is MC-10. As of July they were focusing on refining smart body on-board diagnostic systems that deliver actionable health insights to physicians, patients, providers, and payers. Their smart patches also enable remote monitoring and home diagnosis.
This company has developed a low-profile plastic patch that can monitor vital signs. The patch, HealthPatch® MD, is worn on the chest and can wirelessly capture a broad range of biometric data.
University of Illinois
Researchers at the University of Illinois have patented a stick on tattoo-like sensor, in which the electronics have been designed to bend, fold and stretch like normal skin.
Putting healthcare management into the consumers’ hands
Self-quantification makes it possible for patients to act more like consumers and take control of their own data. This new trend is fitting in this do-it-yourself age. With self-collected data, people can monitor their own health in a very personalized way and make changes to their behavior or environment in order to see positive results.
Healthcare providers, everyone from nurses to physical therapists, can then play the role of consultant, giving advice on how to act on that data.
This trend which will mark “the age of the consumer” in healthcare will propel wearable technology into the forefront of the healthcare and insurance industries.
The more people are comfortable wearing devices that measure their gait, heart rate, respiration, or sweat, the more easily we’ll see the world embrace technology like fMRI headbands and glucose-monitoring contact lenses. We’re becoming accustomed to the medical devices that will change our healthcare and the data collection that they perform.
However, unlike other industries, healthcare is difficult to navigate due to excess regulations and extended product development timelines. So, while we are keeping a close eye on what’s currently in the works, we’ll have to continue watching this story unfold to see the depth at which mHealth wearables will change in the foreseeable future.