Wearable Health Technologies: Where are we with clinical utility?
Published on November 30, 2018 in Med Tech Boston, Dr. Ryan Shaw, expounds upon his research from the summer of 2018 into a broad swath of wearable health devices. Read the full article here.
People are increasingly turning to digital health devices to monitor their health daily, thanks to the ubiquity of cellphones. More than 95 percent of the U.S. population owns a cellphone, and more than 77 percent owns a smartphone. These tools allow the direct capture and transmission of health data from individuals in their everyday environments across geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Sensors embedded in smartphones, Fitbits, Apple Watches and phone-tethered glucometers collect the data and transmit it via Wi-Fi or cell services. Mobile health (mHealth) apps and text messaging enable individuals to return survey data to researchers in real time. Sensors in the environment can monitor homes for temperature, particulate matter, light exposure and so forth. Perhaps most important, these tools capture data over time, which provides valuable insights into the health of individuals involved in a treatment regimen or research projects. Nevertheless, the usefulness and utility of mHealth apps and wearables in clinical practice is still emerging. Validity and utility of these devices vary, and their integration into electronic health record (EHR) systems is happening only gradually.