Table of Contents
- Benefits of Wearable Medical Devices for Remote Patient Monitoring
- Help Reduce Hospital Readmissions
- Save Time by Integrating with Telemedicine Solutions
- Improved Patient Data Capture
- Ensure Steady Connections in Remote Patient Monitoring
- Get Wearable Medical Device Design and Manufacturing Support
- Watch Our Recent Medical Device Wearables Webinar
Wearable technology has become a key part of the modern healthcare market. Modern consumers are intimately familiar with industry names like Fitbit as well as the various smartwatch apps that help them track key health data.
The adoption of wearable medical devices is set to increase even further as time goes on, with estimates stating the industry will grow to as much as $174.48 billion by 2030. This growing trend is encouraging healthcare providers to incorporate wearable medical devices into their patient care—which creates new opportunities for medical device suppliers to expand their products and services.
Benefits of Wearable Medical Devices for Remote Patient Monitoring
Medical device wearables are especially valuable in remote patient monitoring—both in hospitals and for outpatient/at-home care.
Here are a few notable benefits of wearable medical devices for patients and the healthcare system:
Help Reduce Hospital Readmissions
Hospital emergency rooms are often overcrowded. There are frequently far more patients seeking urgent care at the hospital than there are qualified medical specialists to accurately diagnose and triage their needs. It isn’t unheard of for a patient with a life-threatening infection to have to wait 14+ hours to see a doctor simply because they aren’t experiencing pain and don’t have many obvious outward signs of illness.
Therefore, finding ways to reduce the burden on hospital emergency rooms is a key concern for healthcare businesses as well as patients seeking care. Wearable medical devices have been shown to help reduce hospital readmissions by providing better health outcomes and prompting patients to take greater ownership of their health.
Even a modest reduction in readmissions can do a lot to alleviate overcrowding in healthcare facilities—freeing up hospital staff to deal with other emergencies while promoting better overall post-release health for patients.
Save Time by Integrating with Telemedicine Solutions
Telemedicine is an increasingly popular option for patient interactions in large hospitals and among smaller medical practices. Projections byestimate that the global telemedicine market is projected to reach $396 billion by 2027—supporting an enormous part of the healthcare industry. Fortune Business Insights estimate that the global telemedicine market is projected to reach $396 billion by 2027—supporting an enormous part of the healthcare industry.
Telemedicine can help patients avoid long lines at emergency rooms while allowing doctors to service a larger geographical area. However, self-reported health information from patients isn’t always the most reliable data on which to base diagnoses. Medical device wearables that integrate with patient care apps and care provider databases can help doctors deliver care via telemedicine solutions with more accurate information. This helps to improve treatment quality while removing a major data collection hurdle for doctors.
Improved Patient Data Capture
Even without integrating telemedicine solutions, wearable medical devices for remote patient monitoring can help greatly improve a healthcare provider’s ability to capture patient health data. Remotely collecting information such as heart rate, body temperature, blood glucose levels, and other vital data—over the course of days or weeks of wearing a medical device—can help give doctors a more complete picture of a patient’s physical condition.
When combined with an alert system, wearable medical devices can even help safeguard patients with serious medical conditions by sending a warning when specific vital signals fall outside of a set range.
This can also be useful for ensuring patients are following prescribed treatment regimens after leaving the hospital or clinic. For example, say a patient must wear a negative pressure device over a surgical wound at home. Failure to wear the device would delay recovery, increase the risk of infection, and complicate the treatment plan. With remote data captured from the device, care providers can track if the system is consistently used and, if it is left inactive for too long, reach out to the patient to ask why they are not using it.
Ensure Steady Connections in Remote Patient Monitoring
One of the key challenges for remote patient monitoring is ensuring consistent connectivity between the device and whatever systems the care provider uses. Depending on the use case, downtime or lack of connectivity can be a major issue. For example, if the wearable device is tied to a medical alert system, a lack of connectivity could prevent the delivery of a critical alert.
However, choosing an appropriate communication technology for a wearable device can be a challenge. Communication technologies include RFID, NFC, and Bluetooth, among others.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) technologies, in particular, are popular solutions for medical device wearables since they make it relatively simple for the device to share data with nearby devices such as smartphones—devices that 85% of American adults own.
By sharing data with the user’s smartphone using a dedicated healthcare app, wearable devices can ensure the capture of critical data and piggyback on the phone’s connection to the internet to deliver important information to the care provider’s database.
Bluetooth technology can allow a wearable device to pair with another system to share an incredible amount of data at high speed; with communication ranges of up to 100 meters depending on the class of device. However, higher-range devices require commensurately more powerful energy supplies, limiting the lifetime of the wearable or creating a need for frequent recharging/replacement of batteries (if the unit is designed to be rechargeable or take external batteries).
The best communication technology to use will depend on the specific use case for the wearable device. For example, a passive monitoring system may only need an NFC sensor in passive or semi-passive mode to collect data and share it with a device now and again—such as you might see with a blood glucometer used for tracking a diabetic person’s blood sugar level.
Meanwhile, heart rate monitor systems would need a more continuous and active communication solution such as Bluetooth that can send out alerts independently of any action by the patient in case of cardiac arrest.
Get Wearable Medical Device Design and Manufacturing Support
Wearable devices represent an enormous leap forward for patient care—one that care providers can benefit greatly from. However, to help hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities realize the greatest possible improvements to their remote patient monitoring, it is necessary to provide them with the right solutions at the right time.
It is important to carefully consider the entirety of the use case for every medical device supplied, consider the design challenges to build better wearable devices as well as plan out a vertically integrated supply chain to reduce risk.
With manufacturing capabilities in the USA, Costa Rica, and China combined with an engineer-to-engineer consultative approach, ATL Technology helps medical device manufacturers optimize their device designs, manufacturing processes, and supply chain to ensure top performance and cost-effectiveness for their products.
Ready to launch a new product line or need help bringing an existing medical device to a new market? Connect with ATL to get started!
Watch Our Recent Medical Device Wearables Webinar
Click below to discover our recent medical device wearables live webinar where our experts Brandon Tillman, and Jamie Shand discuss the current landscape of medical device wearables, the future of medical wearables, and what design engineers need to know.