Digital Salutem
04 January 2018

The Quantified Self, Our Wearable Future

By João Bocas
wearable future

Wearable future?… Smaller, smarter, more efficient and prettier…. Wearables are becoming increasingly more popular. Where first only sport fanatics and early tech adopters were interested, we now see that the high tech wearable devices become more common and accepted.

Following trendwatchers the use of wearables will rise with 40% per year for the upcoming years. Thus, definitely something to watch! The devices are continuously getting simpler to use, more affordable and deliver valuable information. One group which is very likely to gain big benefits through the use of wearables are the elderly.

As we all know the aging population is one of the reasons why healthcare cost will skyrocket in the upcoming years. With wearables involved elderly themselves and their care providers could constantly monitor their heartbeat, sleeping patterns and measure their movement and activity for example. This may mean that some elderly can stay at home longer and complications can be detected early. But wearables also have the potential to prevent elderly from falling ill or having other problems.

This is why Phillips together with Leids Universiteit Medisch Centrum (LUMC), started a research regarding healthy and active living for elderly with the help of wearables.  They want to create new insights, for example, how elderly respond to being coached or to lifestyle programmes. This research then has to create a basis to develop wearable solutions to coach elderly and keep them healthy and active.

However the research is firstly directed towards elderly, Phillips and LUMC both believe that the basis of the results can be applied to different age groups as well. Which is exactly what we need as we see the trend of the quantified self on the rise.

Wearable Future

People want more empowerment and control over their health. With wearables on the rise, this is exactly what they will get. For care suppliers this can mean saving time and costs. Rather than the patient contacting the doctor when he/she thinks something might be wrong, the patient can continuously see and share their health information with their GP and their GP can contact them when something is out of the ordinary.

Next to that is the automated analyses of big data is a big opportunity for the health and care sector. Through this, combinations and correlations of diseases, medications, eating habits and age can be analysed and detected. This allows us  to gain a better insight into how certain diseases arise, what we can do to prevent them and what the best method of treatment would be.  

the wearable of the future

Here is also where the biggest challenge lies. How can we translate the data generated by wearables and other mHealth-tools into information which can help us with the above.

The Future is Wearable

The best would be to bring all information from wearables and other sources together. This could create a coherent and continues picture of complete populations. This data then could be offered in an easy to read manner to care providers, like in  graphs or in dashboards for example. Within a couple of mouse clicks they could find out which exact care would be best for each specific person.

In short, more personalised care, more effective care, more preventive care, less costs, less time, less hospital/doctor visits, less hospital beds needed, and you in control, that is what wearables can bring to us and will very soon!


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