Wearable Tech: 5 Healthcare Wins - InformationWeek

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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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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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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.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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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
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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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.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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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. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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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. 
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