Can Wearable Technology Help Improve Patient Outcomes

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Lets get into a time machine back to 5 years to 2013

The minute people realised I was wearing a “smartwatch” device I was met with oooohh and aaaaaawwwws of wonderment for I indeed had the shiney new gadget…

It was indeed the Kickstarter sensation that was THE PEBBLE!!!

Roll on to 2015…oooohhh what is that…why its an Apple Watch (which is smashed to smithereens now lol and I never bought another to be honest it was a bit “meh” – series 4 maybe, yet to decide)

And indeed in 2015 lets just say enthusiasm for the wearable category had declining towards the gloomy-sounding “trough of disillusionment” in Gartner HypeCycle from its headonist heights at peak in 2013

In the time before, inbetween and now I had owned and still do own my fair share of wearable trackers from various manufacturers be they Fitbit to Xiaomi and have been continuously wearing one for the past 2 years!

However, just because the wearables category didn’t live up to expectations back in 2015 doesn’t mean it’s dead for example smartwatches are just best used as watches rather than smartphone replacements but indeed save having to get you phone out and give you alerts etc etc

Now its 2018 and indeed interest is picking up again with wearable technology maturing over the past five years and it has reached the coveted “plateau of productivity” ie the 5-10 year period where people’s interest will be rekindled, but not nearly as much as the initial hype but the uses and refinements in accuracy will keep allowing for a better experience year on year!

NOW IS THE TIME FOR INNOVATIONS

But Indeed for those looking at funding of such tech the sexiness has waivered and the 2018 blockbusters of AI and Machine Learning with the awesome DEEP NEURAL NETS ie Deep Learning all over the shop….(Move on over BlockChain you’re yesterdays news)

So Lets Turn the Gaze Onto Healthcare

About 15 million people in England have a long-term condition.

Define a Long-term condition?

Its a chronic conditions for which there is currently no cure, and which are managed with drugs and other treatment

Many of which are affecting us and those that you and I care about such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, arthritis and hypertension

Lets take Diabetes for an example

More people than ever have diabetes! If nothing changes, more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025

The NHS spend was £25,000 a Minute on Diabetes in 2010

Thats Nearly £14 Billion!!! I shudder to think what the spend will be now in 2018!

So How can TECH HELP?

Currently, there is a lot of work trying to be done between Healthcare companies and Tech companies to help eradicate this issue.

Indeed Google, HND, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, IBM, and Apple to name but a few hope to combine wearable technology with data analytics to better improve outcomes in patients with chronic conditions.

Great advances have been made marrying the metrics taken by wearables with machine learning over significant enough data sets to allow for accurate

The promising work at https://cardiogr.am/ has lead to some great potential for screening and early interventions for many conditions such as Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

Apple is currently working on a technology for the apple watch that involves measuring your blood glucose levels. They’re looking at a non-invasive continuous glucose monitor sensor that doesn’t involve pricking of the finger (invasive). They’re trying to figure out a way to develop an optical sensor to read glucose levels by shining light through the skin and integrate that data with the data you have on your apple watch.

Novartis is currently working with Verily Life Sciences on a smart contact lenses that you put in your eyes that measures blood sugar levels through your tears. They’re hoping it changes color if it’s not within normal level ranges.

Merck and Amazon challenged developers to harness artificial intelligence for diabetics. The contest aimed to help incentivise upstarts and individual developers to create apps that harnessed Amazon’s Alexa voice-enabled technologies specifically for patients recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

The Dexcom have worked on a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System provides real-time glucose readings for patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes every five minutes. With Dexcom Mobile, dynamic glucose data can be accessed and shared safely and conveniently anywhere, anytime to your smart device.

The Examples could continue and for each type of Condition there are more and more examples of innovative uses of existing wearable technology and development of specific tech for conditions

THE DATA Issue

Being able to analyse healthcare metrics and translate it into improved patient outcomes will become increasingly important for healthcare professionals.

There is a mountain full of healthcare data that tends to make health data look like a giant puzzle. As healthcare providers we can see some of the moving pieces such as prescriptions, medical images, and test results, but there is still a lot of data available that were missing!!!

We have to be able to see the complete picture. The amount of valuable health data continues to grow with experts estimating it to double every few years!

Concerns of Healthcare Technology and Wearable

Back in 2015 Compliance had always been an issue with wearable technologies. Consumers weren’t wearing their technology on a daily basis. Research had showed 1/10 consumers who have fitbit do not wear their device on a consistent basis. Developing smaller more accurate sensors for these wearable technologies is where these developers then headed and its coming into flurition with stats moving onto 1/18

But there are alot of things to consider such as;

·     Accuracy of the data- Concerns that it may not be healthcare quality accurate, though with each iteration of tech its improving year on year

·     Security and privacy concerns- The sharing of information of who gets to see it and who doesn’t get to see it, the good old GDPR compliance and so forth

·     Patient adherence- Will patience be willing to wear these technologies all the time for it to be collected as accurate data?

THE NEED FOR HAVING HUMAN INTERACTION

INDEED THE CARE in HealthCARE

Will in my humble opinion always need a human touch for we have evolved over millennia to be social creatures

Digital Health should not be Scary

It should not take away Patients from Healthcare Professionals

It needs to help facilitate Healthcare Professionals

So Why are You Writing This?

My personal en-devour into investing in wearable tech started back in 2016 with visits and talks from Glasgow to Beijing but then put it on hiatus due to my other ventures and commitments (plus my pcokets were just not big enough to fund the vision I had back then 🙁 )

Now its Late 2018 and its come back onto my radar! But now with a possible pivot in my mind that involves an easily accessible HCP workforce that is being underutilised

I want to make sure we can marry healthcare outcomes with wearable technology that really resonates with patients…

Side effect being huge savings to healthcare providers such as the NHS and Insurers

THE PROPOSED SOLUTION

I and my colleagues will be conducting research over the coming weeks and indeed the article will be updated once the results start to take shape as part of the PILL initiative

We want to find out as much as we can over public and healthcare professional perception be it from understanding of Long Term Condition, Level of Care , Treatments Use, Other HCP’s (Pharmacists, Doctors, Nurses), Budgets etc

Please do take part and be as open and honest as possible

This will be vital for being able to develop a solution that will be effective

To which I will end this read with my thanks and a reminder to

#BeBetter

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