Healthcare // Mobile & Wireless
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7/28/2014
09:33 AM
Rodney Brown
Rodney Brown
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Wearable Tech: 5 Healthcare Wins

While most businesses still view wearable computers as little more than toys, healthcare has embraced them. Check out these interesting examples.
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Wearable computing technology is nothing new in the movies; think James Bond watches or -- okay, this is a stretch -- the wired colander brain scanner Rick Moranis wore in Ghostbusters. But in the real world, wearable tech has not made much of a dent yet with consumers or business. The exception is the healthcare industry, where wearable devices, particularly Google Glass, seem to have found their first enthusiastic home.

Today's wearable tech movement got its start with Nike+ technology, which began as sensors in running shoes designed to track performance. That was in 2006, when Nike and Apple teamed up on the first killer collaboration for a wearable technology, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit.

So it should come as no surprise that fitness is where the wearables sector did most of its early growing, with occasional forays into vests and jackets that contained torn-down laptops connected to heads up display goggles -- and the truly unfortunate keyboard pants.

Then Google came out of left field with Google Glass, slightly cumbersome-looking eyewear that functions as a wearable computer when paired with a smartphone that has a reliable cellular connection to the Internet.

While late-night talk-show hosts made comic hay with nerd jokes, Google couldn't keep the developer-and-press-only Glass in stock, even at $1,500 a pop for a very early beta product. That's because developers and entrepreneurs appreciated the potential of having an augmented reality display available while you were doing your job -- be it as a field technician accessing an online repair manual or a doctor calling up a patient's record during an exam. Explore our slideshow to see five innovative ways healthcare is using Google Glass and other wearable tech.

Image credit: gbfans.com

Rodney Brown is a veteran of both the newspaper world and the retail management world. Having held nearly every job a newspaper has, from selling advertising to running the presses, he truly has been an ink-stained wretch. Now, with the web, he is pixel-stained. He cut his ... View Full Bio

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 11:22:49 AM
great innovations
it seems the innovation will come from not just the devices, but from companies having partnerships.  Such parternships are beneficial because one company has a medical issue they would like to tackle and the other technology expertise from which to solve it. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2014 | 2:54:00 PM
Re: great innovations
I like the idea of contact lenses that warn drowsy drivers. Think of the accidents that could be prevented.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 4:43:51 PM
Re: great innovations
I think that if they could figure out a technology to improve people who are visually impaired will be a great breakthrough.  I read somewhere the there are millions of people whom will benefit.  I see it more for people who suffer from myopia or such diseases
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:52:50 PM
Re: great innovations
@PedroGonzales, I look forward to hearing about technology advances for individuals that are visually impaired. That would be wonderful! I am all for advances in technology to support those with any kind of impairments or disabilities.
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:55:20 PM
Re: great innovations
@Laurianne, Yes, I like the idea too. Warning drowsy drivers is a good thing. Many lives could be spared.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 12:31:10 PM
Diabetics
I think one of the biggest breakthroughs for wearables will be bloodless glucose monitoring. If a company can get that down, it will have a guaranteed market for many years and will change the lives of diabetics the world over. 

That said, I'm most excited about how AR and VR can change surgery. As you've said, it opens up all sorts of possibilities. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2014 | 1:02:30 PM
Re: Diabetics
There are lots of exciting technologies reshaping how patients with diabetes are treated. Not sure if you saw this: 10 Technologies Changing Diabetic Care, but it was really encouraging to see so many programs and organizations targeting this condition. 
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:57:46 PM
Re: Diabetics
@Alison_Diana, it really is encouraging to see all of the programs targeting individuals with diabetes. I really appreciate how much awareness has been raised in terms of preventing and treating diabetes. We must continue to spread the word and share the resources.
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 5:06:38 PM
Re: Diabetics
@Whoopty, My thoughts are aligned to your thoughts. I am totally stoked about how such breakthroughs can impact people in the medical realm. We are entering into a new era and the possibilities are endless!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/28/2014 | 1:00:45 PM
Therapy
When I recently wrote about physical therapy, I was surprised to hear there's a dearth of unbiased research about which exercises do and don't work and about the most appropriate age/gender/weight groups, etc., for each exercise and length of time. The integration of technologies, such as the one you show here, plus apps I discussed and EHRs or similar programs could help PTs simply and cost-effectively personalize exercises so they're most effective.

In addition to recording therapists, it's also ideal to record patients. Anyone who's ever suffered through PT (I've done it often!) knows how hard it can be to remember the various exercises -- especially when they hurt! Having a visual record of the correct approach and number of reps is really smart. 
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 5:03:51 PM
Re: Therapy
@Alison, Thanks for sharing. I really like the idea of having a visual record to monitor progress and to gather data in terms of exploring a possible link between adhering to a physical therapy regimen and progress in condition/diagnosis.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 2:09:05 PM
The Chicken or the Egg?
I think Rodney and Pedro are right on the mark. The first obvious use for Google Glass is to enable anyone doing something complex, critical and expensive to be able to bring up and access reference information without taking his or her eyes off the task at hand. For this reason, partnerships between Google and their first end-users are an obvious way to go. So, in the end, it won't what came first, the chicken or the egg.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:42:08 AM
Apps for wearables
The wearable world is geting exciting with so many apps specially developed for wearables. Maybe not many consumers see yet the benefits that Glass and others of the kind are bringing. However, it's in vertical business where the benefits are being seen and more companies accepting wearables. 

Augmented Reality in the surgical space as well as in medical training is going to gain momentum in the next few coming years. 

Google's contact lense for measuring glucose is, indeed, useful for the many diabetics in the world. There is a lot of potential in using a contact lense as a medical wearable. Soon might be able to learn more about other possible uses. 

-Susan
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:47:29 PM
Re: Apps for wearables
@Susan, I think this is very advantageous for diabetics to use. I know several people with Diabetes and can't wait to share this information with others!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 7:29:07 AM
" Wearable Intelligence"
The  Wearable Intelligence product sounds like one of the biggest wins to me.  So many people that I know who are recovering from injury or are supposed to be following a doctor's instructions before surgery either misinterpret or confuse the instructions to the point that it is counterproductive.  Add in factors like age or drugs that affect memory and things get worse.  I like the idea of an app that can track if a patient is following those instructions and can keep them on the right path after they leave the hospital.
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:38:43 PM
Re: " Wearable Intelligence"
@SaneIt, I agree. I think it is a great idea, especially for forgetful patients or patients that are lacking their faculties for many varying reasons.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 7:42:15 AM
Re: " Wearable Intelligence"
I think the biggest problem with this solution is the patient remembering to put the glasses on.  It would be easier to make wearing them part of your daily routine than say remembering what time you took your last dose of an antibiotic but it will be interesting to see how this all works out.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/29/2014 | 10:16:29 AM
Is Google really at the center of the healthcare wearables action?
I know there is a lot of excitement about Google Glass and apps that go with it, but there are a lot of other companies innovating in this area as well.
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 4:36:31 PM
Re: Is Google really at the center of the healthcare wearables action?
@David Carr, That is good for the consumers. They will be able to shop around and will be able to compare prices.
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