Fitness trackers. Smart watches. Wearable blood pressure monitors. In an age of smart technology, wearable devices are some of the most innovative on the market. Connected devices and digital solutions have changed how care is delivered and received, and they will continue to shape the future of healthcare delivery as they’re rapidly adopted by both consumers and organizations on a massive scale.
The use of wearable devices by consumers has nearly quadrupled since 2014, from just 9% to 33%, according to an Accenture study. Prompted by the growing demand for wearable technology, employers are beginning to recognize the benefits of integrating wearables into how their employees access and receive care. By extending care beyond onsite and nearsite health centers to include both virtual health and connected devices, employers are able to provide streamlined and accessible care that meets workers wherever they are.
What are connected devices?
A connected device is any piece of wearable technology that captures data from a user in real-time and relays that information to a network for analysis. These devices can track sleep habits, monitor blood pressure, analyze heart rate and rhythm, and more. While wearable technology serves many different industries, the most ground-breaking advancements have been made in medical devices and their impact on the delivery of healthcare.
Wearable technology in healthcare uses remote monitoring tools to provide powerful insights to both patients and their providers. Uses include electrocardiograms (ECGs) that monitor heart health and identify conditions that could lead to a stroke, and connected blood pressure cuffs that help providers monitor home blood pressure readings in individuals with hypertension. Sharing accurate data between appointments allows providers to stay on top of any worsening conditions and to intervene, modifying treatment plans as needed. Additionally, the sharing of information on a regular basis reduces the need to run unnecessary tests to diagnose a new condition and decreases the number of in person visits needed to establish a treatment regimen.
What role does wearable technology play in a health journey?
For both organizations and their employees, the traditional healthcare system can be riddled with inconvenience. It can take weeks to get a specialty appointment, transferring medical records from one office to the next is a hassle, and tests are expensive. By synching patient data and electronic medical records, connected devices alleviate some of those stressors to simplify and enhance the member experience.
So, what could connected devices look like as part of your healthcare offering to employees? Picture this:
- An employee schedules a virtual care visit with a provider and connects his fitness tracker with the digital health portal that syncs with the electronic medical record.
- While training for a marathon and wearing his connected device, he is unexpectedly contacted by his primary care physician who was alerted that his heart rate was abnormally elevated.
- The provider proactively reached out to the employee to ensure he was OK and offered to provide assistance knowing the patient had a chronic condition (asthma).
- The patient and provider discuss how the chronic condition impacts his vital signs and determine that if he is going to keep training, he will need to see a pulmonologist.
- With the help of the provider, the patient is able to continue his training successfully without putting his health in jeopardy.
By improving access to care with connected devices, organizations can improve the health of their populations and drive better outcomes for their employees.
What is the impact of wearable technology on healthcare delivery?
As a result of the global pandemic, digital healthcare has seen a significant uptick in adoption and utilization, making connected devices more important than ever as organizations work to engage and keep remote populations healthy. In underserved and rural areas, wearable health technology can provide people with the tools they need to communicate with providers effortlessly between visits. Additionally, for patients with chronic conditions, healthcare trackers such as glucometers and smart scales offer the ability to monitor conditions from the comfort of their home. With the support of connected devices, members aren’t limited by their conditions, but are instead empowered to meet their goals and improve their overall wellbeing.
Premise Health is the most connected healthcare company in the country, supporting over 1,000 connected devices. With an effortless member experience from start to finish, our digital capabilities allow us to stay connected with our members at the touch of a button.
Looking to integrate connected device solutions into your healthcare benefits strategy? A Premise Health team member can guide you through the process and recommend the right solution for your organization. Contact us today.