The evolution of sensor technology is contributing to a kind of health renaissance in the United States and beyond. As sensor technology becomes more minute and more commonplace, it’s been integrated into everything from smartphones to wearable health trackers. In this way, sensor technology has also become more accessible to the masses.
In some ways, researchers say this is contributing to a greater understanding of – and appreciation for – tracking everything from one’s heart rate to one’s sleeping patterns and total steps taken each day.
Beyond Fitness Trackers
Medical sensors are nothing new to healthcare and staying healthy. The medical field has long used sensor technology to help track vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, breathing patterns, and more.
But sensor technology has also brought wearable medical devices to the treatment forefront, as researchers continue to develop new ways to utilize it in both commonplace medical procedures and complex, life-saving surgeries.
The uses of wearable medical devices are varied, with more being developed every day. There are now wearable health and medical devices that alert users to irregular heartbeats as well as dangerous fluctuations in blood glucose levels. One company has even developed bra inserts that use sensor technology to help detect breast cancer. The inserts utilize sensors to track a user’s temperature and other key changes in body chemistry. Researchers hope these advancements continue because their contributions to the medical field have been vast.
Advantages of Wearable Medical Sensors
Sensor technology has helped facilitate innumerable innovations in the medical field. Its use in wearable medical devices has been lauded by healthcare providers and researchers alike for many reasons, including data. Being able to seamlessly track and record key health metrics may someday allow the data collected to be merged into health records, further streamlining administrative duties and data entry.
Another reason wearable medical devices are considered among the most promising? Their versatility. While some of these medical devices are meant to be worn on the body, others are implantable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved a pill recently that includes a medical sensor that tracks a patient’s adherence to taking a medication prescribed for medical health diagnoses.
But perhaps the most-talked-about advantage of wearable medical sensors is their ability to potentially help prevent serious injury, illness, and disease. In fact, some healthcare experts have called sensor technology the future of preventative care.
Researchers are also hopeful that wearable medical devices will also help improve the effectiveness of clinical trials. Being able to efficiently and accurately measure key vital statistics such as heart rate, hours of sleep, and physical activity is paramount to a successful trial. Advances in sensor technology and their increased use in wearable medical devices may allow researchers to collect patient data passively.
The advantages of this are two-fold: The collection of vital statistics via wearable devices streamlines the data collection process, making it easier for both the patient and health practitioner. It also allowing it to be captured in a more organic way – one that helps provide a more accurate and representative view of the patient experience.