How Wearable Tech Is Improving Healthcare

January 22, 2015

Who would have ever thought the star actor in 80s movie comedies Teen Wolf and Back to the Future would become a champion for medical innovation? Thirty years later and Michael J Fox is head of an organization at the forefront of parkinson’s research. But just how is the Michael J Fox foundation benefitting Parkinson’s research exactly? Through supporting the development of wearable tech.  

Tracking Body Movement with Wearables beyond the Gym

Until recently, the athletic world tended to corner the market on wearable tech. When it comes to tracking athletic performance, products like Nike Fuel Band and FitBit have been around a while. These types of apps track perspiration, heart rate, count steps on your run, and sleep cycles.

These are all great tools when you’ve got goals to improve personal fitness. But what about when your health is not so great?

One of the main objectives of wearable tech is the capture of data related to body movement. Parkinson’s primary symptoms include body tremors, rigidity, and disrupted sleep patterns. Wearables are the perfect tool.

Medical Tech  and Analytics = Better Patient Care

Last August, the Michael J Fox Foundation announced their partnership with Intel. Together, they’re committed to on-going development of wearable tech that syncs with analytics platforms. This partnership opens up new possibilities for parkinson’s sufferers to measure real-time experiences.  The collected data gets analyzed, which empowers doctors to best diagnose and develop drugs. The result it better care of patients.

The improvement of parkinson’s research is just the beginning. The world of wearable tech is seeing a slew of innovative technologies that benefit the medical world.

Take Proteous Digital Health as an example. They’ve developed an unobtrusive patch that adheres to your stomach. It records the ingestion of medications, captures vitals, and sends all the data to an app.

Reebok’s sensor “CheckLight” records the force of impacts in contact sports. It “alerts athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and parents to the severity of impacts.”

Diabetics will be glad to know Google is in the initial testing phase of a smart contact lens. Why? It measures glucose levels in tears. Goodbye to daily needle-prick blood draws.

Getting Closer to the Cure with Data

These products barely scratch the surface of what the future of wearable tech will be like in the decades to come. Imagine real-time personal health data delivered to mobile device apps. It will make doctors’ and patients’ lives that much easier.

Historically, the medical world tends toward late adoption of new technologies. Fortunately organizations like MJFF are moving ahead to help researchers and scientists get closer to a cure for Parkinson’s.

The work of the MJFF and their use of wearable tech is a stellar example of what we’re convinced data analytics is all about. It’s about making a difference in individual lives. As we like to say at Analytics Pros, it’s about solving human problems.