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While technology can’t stop the population from ageing or eradicate chronic diseases at once, it can at least make healthcare easier on a pocket and in term of accessibility.
Medical diagnostic consumes a large part of hospital bills. Technology can move the routines of medical checks from a hospital (hospital-centric) to the patient’s home (home-centric).
With the use of this technology-based healthcare method, there are unparalleled benefits which could improve the quality and efficiency of treatments and accordingly improve the health of the patients.
There are many ways that smart devices usage is transforming the healthcare industry. Here are some of the major benefits of smart devices:
- Allows for remote viewing of test results
- Increased workflow efficiency
- Improves communication between doctors and nurses
- Assists communication between doctors and patients
- Allows for direct patient monitoring
8 Examples Of Smart Devices In Healthcare
The smart devices has opened up a world of possibilities in medicine: when connected to the internet, ordinary medical devices can collect invaluable additional data, give extra insight into symptoms and trends, enable remote care, and generally give patients more control over their lives and treatment.
Here are 8 examples of smart devices in healthcare that demonstrate what medicine is becoming capable of thanks to technology.
Hearables such as smart hearing aids are already making a big impact on the healthcare industry by helping people with poor hearing improve their conditions. But what other ways hearables can change healthcare? We’ll discuss here few ways hearables are going to revolutionize healthcare.
- Heart rate monitor
Heart rate monitors aren’t just something you see on a smartwatch, they’re slowly making an entry into hearable devices. The hearable to monitor heart rate was the iriverON Bluetooth headphones in 2013.
Major headphone brands like Jabra Sport Pulse, Sony B-Trainer, SMS Audio Biosport, Huawei R1 Pro and LG HR Earphone now feature heart rate tracking.
- Measure body temperature
Since hearables are made for your ears, they can be an excellent medium to measure body temperature. Cosinuss’ Degree° is a combination between a wearable in-ear thermometer and an assisting app, that can track body temperature and provide intelligent treatment suggestions.
- Virtual assistants
Many hearables now have voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Hearables like Vi Sense and Vinchi have their own voice-enabled virtual assistants that can perform a wide variety of tasks from changing music to telling you your heart rate.
Voice first technologies like these can serve as caregivers to patients, reminding them to take their medicines, exercise, or visit their doctors.
2. Ingestible Sensors
These are pill-sized sensors which monitor the medication in our body and warns us if it detects any irregularities in our bodies. These sensors can be a boon for a diabetic patient as it would help in curbing symptoms and provide with an early warning for diseases. Proteus Digital Health is one such example.
Ingestible sensors that ping your smartphone with data after you pop and swallow have started to arrive on the market. They don’t do much yet: Mostly they measure pH, temperature, and pressure or monitor whether or not patients have taken their meds.
Moodables are mood enhancing devices which help in improving our mood throughout the day. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s not far from reality.
Thync and Halo Neurosciences are already working on it and has made tremendous progress.
Moodables are head-mounted wearables that send low-intensity current to the brain which elevates our mood.
Thync Calm Vibes is a new head-worn device intended to provide the wearer with a calming effect to ease anxiety. The delivery of “calm or energy” via a wearable device is another impressive claim.
4. Smart continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin pens
A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is a device that helps diabetics to continuously monitor their blood glucose levels for several days at a time, by taking readings at regular intervals.
Smart CGMs like Eversense and Freestyle Libre send data on blood glucose levels to an app on iPhone, Android or Apple Watch, allowing the wearer to easily check their information and detect trends.
The FreeStyle LibreLink app also allows for remote monitoring by caregivers.
Another smart device currently improving the lives of diabetes patients is the smart insulin pen. Smart insulin pens – or pen caps – like Gocap, InPen and Esysta have the ability to automatically record the time, amount and type of insulin injected in a dose, and recommend the correct type of insulin injection at the right time.
The devices interact with a smartphone app that can store long-term data, help diabetes patients calculate their insulin dose, and even (in the case of the Gocap) allow patients to record their meals and blood sugar levels, to see how their food and insulin intake are affecting their blood sugar.
5. Connected Inhalers
The biggest producer of smart inhaler technology is Propeller Health. Rather than producing entire inhalers, Propeller has created a sensor that attaches to an inhaler or bluetooth spirometer.
It connects up to an app and helps people with asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis) understand what might be causing their symptoms, track uses of rescue medication, and also provides allergen forecasts.
The benefits of using connected inhalers are:
- Medication is taken more consistently and more often
- Generates reports on inhaler use that can be shared with a patient’s doctor
- Provides motivation and also clarity, showing how the use of their inhaler is directly improving their condition.
6. Apple Watch
Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. and Cognition Kit Limited, a platform for measuring cognitive health, collaborated in 2017 to explore the use of an Apple Watch app for monitoring and assessing patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
To achieve better patient monitoring, app users need to complete cognitive tests aimed at measuring attention, memory and reaction speed throughout the day.
The app achieved good results: 95% of users were compliant used the device daily to evaluate mood, and 96% used it to measure cognition.
How It Works?
1) The Apple Watch's Activity rings show you progress in each of the three metrics.
2) While the last two made perfect sense, Stand seemed a little odd. It would pop up on your watch every now and then and suggest you stand and go for a walk.
1) A simple animation asks you to breathe in as the image gets larger.
2) As it shrinks the Watch asks you to slowly exhale in time.
ADAMM is a wearable smart asthma monitor that purports to detect the symptoms of an asthma attack before its onset, allowing the wearer to manage it before the attack gets worse.
It vibrates to notify the person wearing it of an impending asthma attack, and can also send a text message to a designated carer at the same time.
Other features of the device include inhaler detection – the device can detect and track inhaler use, if the patient can’t remember whether they’ve used one – and voice journaling to record things like changes, feelings and behaviours.
It also has an algorithm technology that learns what ‘normal’ is for the wearer over time, allowing it to better understand when something has changed. You can click here to read previous articles on machine learning.
8. Connected Contact Lenses
In 2014, Google Life Sciences (now known as Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet) announced it would be developing a smart contact lens that could measure tear glucose and provide an early warning system for diabetics to alert them when their blood glucose levels had dropped or risen beyond a certain threshold.
It partnered with Alcon, the eyecare division of pharmaceutical company Novartis, for the project.
But other medical applications for smart contact lenses might prove more successful. Verily is still working on two smart lens programs with Alcon, which aim to treat presbyopia (long-sightedness caused by a loss of elasticity in the lens of an eye) and cataract surgery recovery.
Swiss company Sensimed has also developed a noninvasive smart contact lens called Triggerfish, which automatically records changes in eye dimensions that can lead to glaucoma.