Technological advancements have impacted nearly every sphere of modern life, including medicine. The latest technology of wearable clinical devices has the potential to revolutionize clinical trials and the way medical conditions are monitored, identified and treated. Wearable technology can be identified as sensors or software applications that can accurately collect and transmit medical data. While wearable technology for fitness monitoring is already popular, with common brands including FitBits, more applications in medicine are under development.
The current global wearable clinical device market is estimated to be worth $8.1 billion and is expected to further grow till 2020 at a CAGR of 29-30 percent. More than 60 percent of the market is accounted for by North America and Europe, while the Asia Pacific region has the fastest growing market. The authorization process for wearable clinical devices is considerably longer than that of fitness monitoring sensors, due to the precision requirements.
There are several factors driving the growth of the market including:
The use of wearable clinical devices offers impeccable precision in the monitoring of health vital signs, ranging from heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure to skin temperature. By the means of easy-to-use wearable devices, patients can accurately keep track of their health status around the clock without having to visit a medical clinic. This data is a more accurate representation of their health than occasional health monitoring.
The results can be examined over a period of time to identify trends and progression of health conditions as well as the effects of different medications. As the results are backed up on the Cloud, there is less risk of data loss or mixing up of data between patients.
Apart from simply recording medical data, there are also wearable clinical devices that provide alerts directly to patients and doctors, prompting them to take immediate action. For example, wearable clinical devices can identify and inform patients of high body temperatures in case of fevers, report when heart rate or blood pressure becomes high and even if sugar glucose levels fall too low.
The medical alerts can also be designated to appear to the patient’s caretakers, helping the family take better care of patients. In the case of babies, wearable clinical devices, such as those in the form of socks, can inform parents if the baby’s oxygen level drops while sleeping or if their body temperature hikes. Wearable devices on Alzheimer’s patients can let caretakers know if the patient has had a fall or missed a meal.
Clinical trials are an essential part of the healthcare ecosystem, verifying the safe use of medication and procedures in the treatment of illnesses. However, clinical trials typically take a considerable amount of time and effort, especially effort on the part of participants in recording their feedback. Keeping in mind scope for error, the clinical trial is repeated multiple times before the drug can be approved.
The use of wearable clinical devices can transform the way clinical trials are conducted, as well as the speed with which they are completed. Wearable clinical devices remove the risk of human error in reporting results and provide accurate and precise measurements. The devices can also be programmed to match with an app to take in immediate feedback from the participant as needed. Wearable devices also reduce the time span and efforts required by participants who can continue with their normal schedules regardless of their participation in the clinical trials. The data sample collected by the devices is also larger as compared to manual data collection and can be examined as needed.
The scope of wearable clinical devices is immense and can be adapted to suit a variety of health conditions and medical applications. Wearable clinical devices can be used for everything from identification of disease to monitoring of treatment protocols. While there are certain drawbacks, such as management of the immense data collected, the benefits of the wearable devices continue to drive the market.