Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Every industry has witnessed a disruption. At the same time, the nature of this disruption has also brought about opportunities. Industries that adapted were those that were able to change their perspective for the better.  It has been the survival of the fittest. The market for wearables too is no different:  Key trends are indicative of rapid innovation, increased attention, and changing demand with an emphasis on health and wellness.  There are many health companies today that are using the tracking facilities of wearables to monitor-patients remotely and also keep a check on early warning signs for serious ailments. The wearables industry is playing a critical role in shifting the focus towards prevention.

Ostensibly, one of the consequences of the pandemic is that there is an increased awareness about overall health.  Which is why leading wearables players like Apple, FitBit, and Amazon are emphasizing on health focussed cutting -edge features and advanced analytics to foster a seamless healthcare ecosystem across multiple devices. This gradual shift in the approach for wearables is helping fulfil a critical need-gap for remote healthcare. As the demand for wearables increases, so too will the remote healthcare ecosystem evolve and grow, and more users will buy in to the ecosystem.  Today, leading companies are already focusing on the technology and value advancements that the next generation of wearables will bring. Based on insights from Clarkston Consulting, let’s delve deeper into how wearables are shaping remote-healthcare in the new normal.

Challenges in the new normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for the healthcare industry. The industry was forced to make many changes, including in the approach towards healthcare delivery.  The lockdown made it difficult for the elderly and immunocompromised to meet treatment outcomes as they were unable to meet their physicians for regular check-ups.  These conditions mandated better remote-monitoring-capabilities and tenable options enabled by technology to in-person visits. All of the aforementioned factors are acting catalysts for wearables that help patients and healthcare professions with the seamless integration of telemedicine and remote diagnostics.

Wearables have an array of sensors that can keep a tab on a patient’s health statistics 24/7 and in real-time.  Further, its integration with various IoT technologies has led to better insights for healthcare providers without the need for an in-patient visit. Another promising use case is the ability of many wearables to track and identify COVID-19 symptoms. Approximately 50 percent of COVID-19 symptoms were detected by wearables a day prior to the patients reporting symptoms, as per a study by Fitbit.

This study offers a glimpse into how wearables can be used to detect symptoms early and improve healthcare outcomes via remote-monitoring in the long run.

Clinical trials

Having clarity on the effect of a drug or medical device is of the utmost importance during clinical trials. The process of running clinical trials has a lot of significance for medical device and pharmaceutical companies. They get an objective assessment of efficacy, potential side effects, and other data that can impact healthcare outcomes. The advent of wearables offers a whole new dimension for collecting data for monitoring treatment efficacy.  Further, the use of AI and advanced analytics can offer better insights into the more subtle side effects.  With social distancing becoming prevalent, patients and clinical trial candidates can reduce the frequency and duration of visits to the clinic.

Overall, wearables add value to clinical trials by improving their effectiveness and garnering better insights. It will lead to more efficient drug development in the future.

Conclusion

Wearables open-up a whole new dimension for healthcare outcomes. The accelerated innovation in the wearables space is a direct result of the healthcare landscape changing and wearables fulfilling an important need-gap. They are a critical component of the overall transformation of the healthcare sector in the long-run.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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