There's no doubting the popularity of wearable health technology among consumers. If and how those devices and the data they collect can be worked into patient care episodes across the healthcare industry is still to be decided. Wearable devices can track nearly everything, from physical activity to sleep and exposure to sunlight. Their versatility and portability appeal to consumers and make them a consideration for providers that want to cut down on in-person visits and allow physicians to remotely check in on patients.
While fitness enthusiasts often buy their own wearables to track their activity levels, most patients aren't as willing to make a similar purchase. This indecision leaves providers to assess whether it's worth it for them to foot the bill and distribute wearable monitors to selected patients.
If calculating the return on investment (ROI) of wearable health technology is the main criteria giving providers pause, then the security and regulation of data captured by wearables isn't far behind. Any data that comes from patient-bought devices isn't required to be protected under HIPAA, but hospital-assigned devices that contain protected health information must be HIPAA-compliant. One of the cases against wearables in healthcare is that encouraging physicians to work with data derived from wearable devices could result in a technology overload and drive physicians away from face-to-face patient-physician interactions.
Check out the guide sections and stories below for analysis, opinions and projections of how wearable health technology can be applied to patient care.
1Wearables in medical settings-
Medical viability of wearable health technology
Wearable health devices are capable of tracking medically useful health information, but most healthcare facilities aren't yet equipped to process and protect this data. Discover how wearable health technology can be deployed in remote monitoring scenarios and how it can help detect the early stages of serious medical conditions. A hospital chief information security officer also clarifies the types of data captured by wearables must be protected by providers as mandated by HIPAA regulations.
Wearable heart monitors are most commonly used during exercise, but they can also play a role in disease prevention. Continue Reading
A range of wellness wearable devices were showcased at the 2014 Connected Health Symposium, including a sunlight tracker and a pair of thermometers. Continue Reading
Read on to see the opinions of health IT experts and commentators on the utilization of wearables in healthcare. Continue Reading
2Wearable health tech business-
Providers' perspectives on wearable health technology
While the amount of healthcare technology is growing, many hospital IT budgets are staying the same or shrinking. With this in mind, health IT executives have to decide what technologies are worth their time and financial investments. This guide section looks at why it's complicated to calculate the ROI of a wearable health technology implementation. Read a roundup of SearchHealthIT's Twitter chat and find out why one hospital CIO believes providers can no longer use indeterminate costs as an excuse for not beginning a wearables project.
A mobile glucometer and baby monitor were among the wearable health technology devices honored at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Continue Reading
SearchHealthIT's HIT Squad duo got together to talk about the transformation of healthcare security. Specifically, they discussed patient privacy issues and why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in a tough spot when it comes to regulating medical devices. Continue Reading
Medical facilities might not yet be equipped to handle all the data recorded on patients' wearable devices, but that doesn't mean that information should go to waste. Continue Reading
Healthcare providers are running trials to decide if they can afford to start a large-scale wearable health technology project. So far, they haven't been able to irrefutably prove that the cost of wearables is worth the investment. Continue Reading
Physicians have noticed patients' interest in wearable health technology. Whether that connection results in wearables crossing over into mainstream healthcare or not, wearables will be part of healthcare's future. Continue Reading
A CIO who co-hosted SearchHealthIT's Twitter chat asserted that providers shouldn't be scared off by the cost of wearable health technology. Read our chat recap to find out his rationale and the effect he thinks wearable devices may have on hospital readmissions. Continue Reading
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3Future of healthcare wearables-
Healthcare wearable technology innovation
Financially incentivizing employees and providing them with wearable technology are a couple ways to encourage them to improve their health and keep them out of the healthcare system. Devices such as the Apple Watch have caught the eyes of many consumers, but it's up to patients and their healthcare providers together to sort out how popular wearables can be used in traditional care settings. Go over this guide section to gather some experts' insights into what the next few years may hold for wearable health technology.
Employee wellness programs are about giving patients more reason to lead healthy lives. Learn how wearable health technology can be part of that. Continue Reading
Flashy devices from known vendors can only go so far in improving patients' health. Find out where providers must step in. Continue Reading
A heart rate monitor and fitness tracking capabilities are two of the health-focused features of the Apple Watch. Continue Reading
The safety mechanisms built into IoT-connected wearable devices should only be part of a providers' comprehensive security equation. Continue Reading