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Health information is a basic human need. That’s a guarantee for growth and in some cases a lifesaver as well.
“A man wears a medical belt to measure his health conditions. Not for anything serious, he uses it to more be aware of how his stamina and condition are doing while he exercises. But he’s experiencing a problem: a presumable bug provides him erroneous information. He get’s his device checked with the manufacturer, but they detect no errors. A random visit to the GP, to whom he explains his wearable issues, leads to more medical examination after which a heart murmur is detected. There was no bug in the device the man was wearing. It had been detecting the murmur all the time.”
CEO of Wearable World Redge Snodgrass shared this anecdote during GLAZED Conference in London. Snodgrass pinpoints exactly to which extend wearables can be useful in measuring health conditions and more. “This proves the necessity of wearables; they can alert and notify doctors before a stroke hits”, Snodgrass says.
Health & Fitness are currently dominating the consumers wearables market. New cases are born every single day, the quantified self movement empowers users to measure their own conditions. Wearables are, if used correctly, offering wisdom and knowledge to professional athletes, but also to the ordinary man and expecting women.
This was a pivotal year for mHealth, says Belgian mobile agency In The Pocket in their annual report The State of Mobile. “The surge of wearable sensors is creating a new wealth of health data. A number of great apps have been build on top of this data, finally allowing preventive care and self-management. The new health platforms from the tech giants are offering the necessary means to collect, store and communicate health data. In conclusion, mHealth is set to become one of the biggest digital markets.”
Already in the first half of 2014, medical apps have been the 3rd-fastest-growing category in the app store. And in that same period, the usage of the health and fitness apps has grown at nearly twice the rate of app usage overall, according to mobile analytics company Flurry.
2014 was the year wearable technology and connected devices found some traction in the consumer space. Fitness bands like Fitbit and Jawbone became very popular, but they are still child’s play compared to some new wearable sensors. For instance, companies like iHealth, Lifescan or Medtronic have smartphone-connected glucometers ready to be launched for diabetes patients. In the field of fertility, pregnancy and pediatrics, Kindara, Bellabeat and Mimo already offer a series of connected sensors to monitor health.
Proteus already has European and U.S. approval for its "smart pill" technology system, in which a tiny sensor is embedded in a tablet and linked to a patch worn on the patient's abdomen. About the size of a grain of sand, the sensor has no battery or antenna and is powered by reacting with stomach juices. Information is sent from the sensor to the small skin patch, which transmits data by Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet computer. There are countless other examples in many therapeutic areas.
As the amount of devices and applications grow, their users should take on thing into account: The data the wearable produces is only valuable if the device has been used for a long period of time. Using it for only two or three months gets you nowhere if you need of reliable data and statistics on health and fitness.
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