Tag: mhealth

Wearable technology may get a boost from the Affordable Care Act

Federal law may have an unexpected effect on the technology sector

The controversial Affordable Care Act has caused a shift in the insurance and health care landscape of the U.S., but some technology experts suggest that the federal law may have an unexpected effect of pushing people toward embracing wearable technology more readily. The federal law sparked the creation of health insurance exchanges throughout the country and pushed the insurance and health care industries to become more digital, forgoing older methods of record keeping and customer service. The law has spawned the concept of “digital health,” which is gaining more attention on the back of wearable technology’s hype.

Digital health is gaining momentum

The idea of digital health has been examined at several events that have been held in the U.S. over the past few months. During these events, big data is often brought up as a key factor to the continued evolution of health care in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. Big data analytics is changing the way the health care sector operates, and continued ventures into the digital space are making electronic health records more common and improving the efficiency of various services that are rendered to people in many parts of the country.

Wearable devices are becoming more health-oriented

Wearable Technology - healthWearable devices become more prominent in the concept of digital health as people begin to base their lives more on mobile technology. These devices can be used to keep track of vital health information. Smart watches, for instance, can be used to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and a wide range of other health-related information. The majority of these products are designed to help people take control of their health, but they are not necessarily designed to help people manage what medical issues they may have.

Demand for health-related devices is on the rise

Wearable technology may have a major role to play in the future of health care, but it is difficult to say for certain what they role may be. Currently, the majority of these devices that are being produced by technology firms have to do with entertainment or social networking. Some developers are focusing exclusively on the health care sector, seeing an increasing demand among consumers for useful, health-related electronic products.

Google Glass being tested in Rhode Island ER

These augmented reality glasses are being tested for use with medical conditions.

Starting at the end of last week, the emergency department at Rhode Island Hospital became the first one in the country to start to use Google Glass and its associated wearable technology for streaming live images of the medical conditions of the patients who were being seen there, in order to be able to consult with a specialist who was located somewhere other than in the hospital.

This is the start of a feasibility study that is meant to test the augmented reality glasses for six months.

Should the use of the Google Glass prove to be successful, Dr. Paul Porter, the project coordinator, believes that the use of these mobile devices will only expand in the medical arena. Potential users could include first responders in ambulances, surgeons, and others who could benefit from the recommendations of specialists while they are on the field or when there is no local specialist available.

Porter is highly enthusiastic about the possibilities for Google Glass in the health care environment.

He stated that it would be “like the Holy Grail” but added that “we’re just at the beginning; you have to start somewhere.” At the moment, the hospital will continue to test this wearable technology exclusively with emergency room patients who are suffering from various forms of dermatological struggles, such as skin rashes. These patients must volunteer to be a part of the study as opposed to being automatically entered into it.Google Glass -  Augmented Reality Glasses

The reason is that Porter feels that the standard of health care at the moment makes it so that handling these types of problems within an emergency room typically involves a basic visual inspection while asking the patient certain types of questions such as whether or not it is itchy, painful, etc.

The reason that these specific types of cases have been chosen for testing Google Glass in the emergency room is that if any glitches should occur within this wearable technology – such as a loss of the connection for audio or video – then the life and health of the patient will not be placed at risk.