The Rise of Wearable Devices & Telehealth Adoption

Summary:

Apps and wearable devices are changing the healthcare landscape as patients take charge of their health. Telehealth should do the same.

The healthcare industry is on a trajectory to be completely revolutionized over the next decade. From the rise in telehealth medicine, to the rapid adoption of health apps, to the explosive growth seen in the wearable health device segment, how patients are managing their health is rapidly changing. In fact, it is forecasted that within the next 5 years, the wearable health and medical device market will be worth at least $27 billion.

That’s why the largest technology and online giants such as Apple and Amazon are vying for ways to produce their own wearable devices to steal a large market share. But, the question often becomes: What role will these medical devices play in healthcare?

Research has found that many of the wearables in the market can accurately predict irregularities in a user’s health profile and alert medical providers for help. In a recent study, physicians found that the Apple watch could detect even subtle heartbeat abnormalities with 84% accuracy. This ability can change how and when patients receive care by allowing doctors to closely monitor a patient’s vital signs in real-time.

According to McKinsey’s market research, wearable medical devices can impact the entire patient journey, from before, during, and after their appointments. Patients could receive push notifications to their devices to be alerted to schedule an appointment when abnormal symptoms are detected. Likewise, a patient could be reminded to take medication, be automatically checked in to an appointment based on location tracking, and receive medical updates all through their wearable device.

But, the role of wearables is just one part of the new healthcare equation. As telehealth adoption has exponentially grown in the past two years, the automation and virtual reality of medicine are upon us.

During the pandemic, many healthcare systems relied on wearable devices to track and analyze patients’ symptoms to relay key information. It is with these devices that many patients were able to have real-time health monitoring and receive diagnosis and get treatment without even seeing a physician in person. 

With the rapid improvement of technology, these devices coupled with telehealth services will continue to enhance patient outcomes via healthcare automation. By encouraging patients to purchase a wearable device and pairing that with offering telehealth services, this can be a highly effective and powerful way to virtually improve patient care. 

As the Apple Heart Study found, a majority of participants sought out medical care as a result of their medical device alerting them to a health irregularity. When patients are made aware of a symptom, the likelihood that they will seek treatment will increase. And, with a telehealth offering, this lowers the burden of coming into an office or having to travel to receive medical attention.

That’s why wearables represent a significant growth opportunity for telehealth providers looking to streamline care and give patients the all-around medical attention they want. How quickly the wearable medical device market will change the healthcare landscape is yet to be determined, but smart telehealth brands must take note.

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