by: Dinesh Puppala
Wearables have raised up as the next big thing in the medical field. A number of tech giants are pouring into this segment, wearables have already shown an impact on various fields such as communication and navigating, but perhaps the greatest potential lies in healthcare.
Widespread adoption of Wearables to monitor the wearer’s vital signs and other indicators seems to be the future of healthcare, making it easier for data collections which in turn could reduce health care costs. Many early adopters, patients and clinicians are already using mHealth apps on their smartphones and other devices, According to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports the number of wearables and apps will grow by 25 percent a year. Their study also projects that by 2018, 1.7 billion people worldwide will download a health app and use some wearable devices. Some experts say we are already in the Wearables era and Apple Inc., has taken it to the next step by releasing the HealthKit a few months back. Stanford university hospital and Duke University have already launched trials with diabetics and chronic disease patients using this unique platform to integrate data from applications already used by medical devices such as glucose monitors and blood pressure tracking devices.
A 2012 study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that of 1,500 health apps it evaluated, 20 percent claimed to treat or cure medical problems, but only a small percentage of them had been clinically tested or approved. Although Regulatory authorities across the globe are trying to enforce strict regulations to avoid such applications and devices to be marketed. To truly make this technology the future of healthcare, wearable technology in healthcare has to cross the boundary from consumer electronics devices to regulated medical devices, Companies need be more proactive in self-reporting and help the user make an informed decision.
Be on the lookout for opportunities to work in these device companies which are actively recruiting biomedical engineers, regulatory and quality associates among many other positions. Some popular wearable tech companies would be Google, Apple, Fitbit, Pebble, Philips, and Atlas wearables (Johns Hopkins Alumni Startup).