Wearable technology: addressing clinical needs and beyond

Published 29 May 2024

Tanvi Zakir Hussain

Digital health advocate | CS engineer | Thinker

From a smart abacus ring that could be used as a calculator to an Oura ring that tracks fitness, sleep, stress and health, wearable technology continues to surpass expectations of the average consumer by developing new innovative sensors with functionalities offered to track various aspects of an individuals’ healthcare needs.

As clinical needs of a patient extend beyond the perimeters of a hospital or healthcare practitioners’ clinic, wearable devices in the recent years have been adopted in continued surveillance post-surgery, rehabilitation, and disease management of patients with chronic conditions, and remote monitoring for patients with mild cognitive impairment. While it is evident that the perceived potential value of wearable device data is acknowledged by both, the healthcare professionals, and patients, the discrepancy in levels of adoption of these devices across the healthcare setting indicates barriers that need to be mitigated. The project aimed to develop a deeper understanding of this relation between adoption levels and encountered barriers.

Designing a study to include a scoping review and qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, gives a comprehensive understanding of the question at hand. The insights from this study, despite the limited number of participants for the qualitative analysis, indicate that for the adoption of wearable devices in clinical practice, a patient’s understanding of health data in the context of their personal health, a healthcare professionals’ knowledge and skills in digital healthcare and the seamless exchange of information across the integrated care team of a patient, are the determining factors that enable the integration of wearable devices.

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