Wearable medical technology is becoming a hot commodity. As these devices come to market, they have the potential to help both patients and clinicians monitor vital signs and symptoms.
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Wearable health technology is drawing serious attention in the press and for good reason. Such devices will likely transform medical care in unimagined ways, turning science fiction in science fact. The latest wearable health gadgets sport new capabilities and sleekness. From headsets that measure brainwaves to clothes that incorporate sensing devices, personal health monitoring is the wave of the future.
ABI Research has projected that by 2016, wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices annually. The market for wearable sports and fitness-related monitoring devices is projected to grow as well, reaching 80 million device sales by 2016.
Devices worn on or close to the body are expected to produce the most ground-breaking innovations, according to IMS Research, the research partner of Wearable Technologies, and Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IMS Research. "There is increasing clinical evidence of the value of continuous physiological data in managing chronic diseases and monitoring patients' post-hospitalization," Ahadome said. "As a result, a growing number of medical devices are becoming wearable, including glucose monitors, ECG monitors, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors."
Ahadome added that the latest figures projected for wearable technologies speak volumes about where the sector is headed. The market for wearable technologies in healthcare "is projected to exceed $2.9 billion in 2016, accounting for at least half of all wearable technology sales," he said.
Technology such as Preventice's BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System or Avery Dennison's Metria Wearable Technology is setting the stage to seamlessly deliver patient data to doctors. Textiles included in AiQ Smart Clothing bypass the need for add-on sensors by incorporating them in clothes to collect data.
Bluetooth technology is key in systems such as 9Solutions IPCS, which uses it to track elderly patients' movements and send health measurements to caregivers. BodyTel uses the same Bluetooth technology to allow patients to wirelessly send measured body values to their doctors.
Click through our slideshow to see what the future of wearable health monitors might hold for you.
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