Inevitable Role of Wearables in mHealth
mHealth platforms are often closely connected with smart wearables, since the majority of wearable devices operate through or with a mobile app. Wearables are largely popular for fitness and exercise, sleep tracking, and weight management applications. However, of late, their use in other areas has been expanding, creating promising opportunities for the mHealth industry.
Merck collaborated with digital health firm Evidation Health to launch a new remote patient monitoring program for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. The companies plan to use smartphones and mHealth wearables to track the daily routines of elderly patients with and without cognitive impairment.
The application of wearables is not only limited to this. A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that the use of mHealth wearables such as smartwatches can significantly enhance healthcare access for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).
Wearable-based mHealth services are also playing a critical role in helping to curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. In May, for example, Intermountain Healthcare Utah, the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston had partnered for a federally funded project to develop an mHealth app that can continuously track COVID-19 patients at home.
While physicians and patients remain the major end-users of wearables, the mHealth market is witnessing tremendous growth opportunities across the government sector. Government bodies are actively investing in mHealth wearables for health and wellness management. Earlier in May, for instance, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) had issued a $2 million grant to New York-based developer Oculogica to design an mHealth wearable that can identify concussions.
Wearable devices have evolved significantly since their inception to become more powerful and offer better functionality. Imaging, proximity and biosensor technologies are advancing at a monumental pace, which can take the application of wearable tech in mobile health to a whole new level. mHealth wearables will certainly transform the way how digital care is delivered to patients across emerging economies.
As mHealth adoption surges, mobile apps, wearables and connected medical devices are rapidly becoming part of mainstream healthcare. They are being increasingly used to empower patients and play a more proactive role in health management. For providers, mHealth offers the ability to make more data-driven diagnostic decisions, enabling better patient care.