It’s fun to compete with friends to see who is getting the most steps in a week, but there’s so much more that can be done to enhance the health benefits of wearables. Now more than ever, technology is impacting our lives in simple yet profound ways. The rapid advancements in connected devices, robotics, deep learning, and everything in-between, are transforming the way we connect, work, live and create.
Today, people are more vigilant about health choices, and many would prefer more up-to-the-minute information about their well-being. One increasingly popular tool to do this is health wearables that promote proactive management of your own health, by providing data that will benefit personal and clinical decision making. This new generation of devices will be able to collect a wide range of health stats such as body fat, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and heart rate.
As an enabler of technology innovation in Silicon Valley and the world, Samsung is the partner for making ideas possible. Here are three ways that we envision technology will enable new innovations that will transform the world of healthcare.
Wearable health devices will take on new form factors
Technology is incorporated into our everyday lives – for instance, it’s been estimated that millennials check their phones as many as 43 times a day – meaning new generations of users will have a deep willingness to use devices to monitor their health and fitness. This shift will have an impact on healthcare, as wearables will no longer just track the morning run and instead become a valuable tool to form tighter patient-doctor relationships.
In the coming years, we will see numerous examples of self-tracking devices come onto the market in a variety of sleek, unobtrusive form factors. Current devices are already small, robust, less intrusive and more energy efficient, such as smart contact lenses that measure glucose levels in users; electronic sensor tattoos that monitor hydration and temperature; patches that manage and track pain relief; and smart socks that coach users on running techniques in real time.
Users will have many options with sophisticated features that previous generations only dreamt about, that can even measure their emotional state, stress levels, and sleep quality.
Biometrics will chance how doctors engage patients
Nearly half of American adults age 50 and older are concerned there won’t be enough nurses or doctors to provide care in the future (Healthcare Finance News). This issue is driving the growth of telemedicine.
Telemedicine improves access to care for patients that live far away from a healthcare facility, reduces costs and enables doctors to provide better care for all patients. The advantages of remote health practices for doctors are many. Eighty-five percent of doctors say the use of wearable health devices helps their patients stay engaged in personal health management (Accenture, Top 5 eHealth Trends, 2015).
With doctors and patients becoming more comfortable with remote health capabilities, new technologies combining intelligent health wearables and telemedicine will offer exciting new functionality. For patients, it might involve more gamification to encourage them to keep using their devices, and for healthcare providers, it might be packaging insights in more visual ways to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.
Remote monitoring will lead to new possibilities for treating chronic disease
For people over age 65, the incidence of chronic disease is on the rise as are related healthcare costs. Approximately 92 percent of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and 77 percent have at least two (National Council on Aging). Chronic disease accounts for a whopping 75 percent of the money our nation spends on healthcare.
The mission for this new breed of wearable devices is to enable people to achieve healthier lifestyles and more seamlessly manage chronic conditions. Preventive monitoring can be done for high-risk patients with chronic conditions and is already proving effective. After the implementation of remote health monitoring for people with diabetes, the University of Mississippi Medical Center for Telehealth found that 96 percent of patients took their medications as directed and 83 percent kept their scheduled telehealth appointments, both substantial improvements.
Disposable wearable sensors will make remote monitoring even more convenient, and they will play a key part in the future of health monitoring. The data that they collect over time can be used by doctors to provide personalized care based on each patients’ health history, nutrition and other biometric data. And in the future, deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will design treatment plans tailored to a patient’s unique biology.
Samsung is working to make these ideas possible by not simply creating experiences that are transforming lives right before our eyes, but making it possible for health technologies to realize their potential. Our expertise in enabling the most innovative ideas for people around the world is motivation to keep improving their lives in meaningful ways. While Samsung Semiconductor may never be seen when these technologies are experienced, our impact is felt every day.