Wearable technology has supported the shift in healthcare to a preventative care model as opposed to a reactive one. These devices allow individuals to monitor their own health on a daily basis.
In only a few short years wearable technology has gone from tracking physical activity and calorie intake to real-time health and wellness monitoring.
Combining the increased affordability and ease of use of wearable devices with the continuing pandemic, more people are taking advantage of the ability to gain control over their wellbeing. According to research firm IDC, Q2 2021 saw a 34.4 per cent increase in sales over the same quarter in 2020.
The tech industry understands the importance of accuracy, especially with wearable devices that are being used to supplement their users' healthcare.
When it comes to step and calorie counting there is a safe margin of error, but when it comes to heart monitoring the consequences of inaccurate data could be life threatening.
ECG accuracy for RPM
Most at-home ECG wearable devices are designed to record heart rate and detect atrial fibrillation (AFib). It’s the most common irregular heart rhythm, which affects up to 33.5 million people and increases stroke risk by 5 times.
Dr Andrew Mitchell, Consultant Cardiologist, State of Jersey Hospital, highlights the impact of at-home health monitoring:
“Accurate health data is critical to providing high quality healthcare. Historically data has been siloed in hospitals, health centres and private providers but we are at a stage now where technology will change this.
"Data accuracy will improve, duplication of information and tests reduced, and healthcare outcomes improved at reduced cost."
While these devices may alert the user about an irregular heartbeat, not all irregularities are dangerous and many doctors remain cautious and concerned that as more people wear these devices, there could be a flood of unnecessary follow-up testing and too much wasted treatment.
This is why accuracy in remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions is vital for both the user and physician.
These devices are instigating a new patient-doctor relationship, a trend that feels inevitable given the last 18 months.
As demand for control over personal healthcare continues to grow, intelligently implemented IoT Healthcare devices will play a key role in assisting medical professionals, supporting them in managing the increasing demand of an already strained system.