This is a continuation of our previous article, Wearable Medical Devices Enabling Personalized Healthcare (Part 1). There we discussed China’s current healthcare solutions and one common example of a new wearable medical device, but now it’s time to look at two other devices and the future of wearable healthcare devices.
Wearable Patch ECG Monitor
The above devices all typically monitor a patient’s ECG, but it does become cumbersome to wear an entire waistband when you only need it for one specific function. Thus, simple wearable ECG monitors have been created and can be worn on a patient’s chest. For instance, the LifeTouch HRV011 is a lightweight cardiac monitor that is stuck on via an adhesive bandage strip. Through a very low power microcontroller as well as an ultra-low power wireless protocol, this small tool can function for up to 100 hours.
Another wearable ECG monitor is the Zio Patch, which can offer patients up to 14 days’ worth of power. These monitors help to catch signs of arrhythmic activity and other heart abnormalities with more power than some overall wearable devices. Other devices include Corventis’s NUVANT (which can detect and analyse ECG for up to 30 days), the PiiX and VPMS’s V-Patch.
In the case of China, this kind of monitoring will help keep bodies out of hospitals to prevent overcrowding as well as provide patients with care in the comfort of their own home, and this is definitely important when you consider their potential to fail as a healthcare system. However, consider this kind of technology being used in any European country, or even anywhere in the world. Regardless of a healthcare system’s ability to fail, this kind of tech can greatly improve the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Wearable Biofeedback Breathing Training Device
When a person’s breathing is regulating based on physiological signals feedback, they learn to help control these signals and modify these same physiological functions. This can be done through biofeedback breathing training, and this conditioning can help patients that suffer from diseases and disorders like anxiety, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and other disorders with psychosomatic factors.
One device that can help patients achieve their breathing regulation goals is the StressEraser. This is a finger pulse sensor that senses a person’s biofeedback through a pulse. From here, the pulse is transmitted into an HRV wave and the users are guided to synchronise their breathing with a typical heart rate cycle. The screen on this device is simple, easy to use and has been widely used by physicians already. In fact, the StressEraser has been used in U.S. military training in order to help troops remain calm and collected during intense situations.
Another similar device is the RESPeRATE, which is used to control blood flow through relaxing constricted blood vessels. This device is worn around the abdomen and comes recommended by the European and International Societies of Hypertension. Other devices include the emWave 2 and NASA’s developed Autogenic Feedback Training Exercise in conjunction with Zephyr’s Bioharness.
The Future Trends of Wearable Medical Healthcare
China’s healthcare system reform is being based around their paradigm of the “6P’s of medicine.” The concept is that the nation at large has to help prevent diseases, and the way to achieve this is through personalised healthcare. A big reason for this push is because personalised healthcare is cheaper, and China sees this as a big plus.
China is still considered a largely developing nation, even if it does have many areas of infrastructure. This means there are large pockets of the country that either don’t have access to healthcare or can’t afford it. Wearable medical devices are now giving these people access to care that, until recently, wasn’t an option for them.
The wearable medical device industry sees this and understands it. Thus, they’re looking to change and improve devices in more ways than one. Future trends you’ll see include making devices smaller and more comfortable, improving device cost, raising the capability of real-time diagnosis and monitoring, using the devices as true tools for diagnosis and using the devices to improve the entire healthcare network.