Wearables have exploded onto the connected health market and their presence is continuing to grow—Tony Rizzo of Wearable Tech News predicts wearable technology spending to be $50 billion by 2018. Many of these devices focus on making patient data quickly accessible to healthcare professionals, thus improving the speed and accuracy of patient care. However, many of those touting the benefits of wearables disregard the many roadblocks that wearables face in health care.
Frank Speidel, MD, poses two major questions to wearables.
- Are physicians prepared for this tidal wave of data and information?“The vision is the doctor is sitting waiting for all this, and the doctors aren’t,” Dr. Michael Blum, Associate Vice Chancellor of Informatics at UCSF School of Medicine told PC World. “They are running around with their hair on fire trying to do what they do right now.”
- What is the true cost of the data surge versus its benefits? And who will pay for it?Wearables will cost more than simply buying and maintaining the device. Care providers will also incur costs involved in receiving, analyzing, storing, and responding to patient information. Furthermore, Frank Spiedel explains that helping patients understand their information will become a necessary cost– because “providing the patient access to information about themselves empowers the patient, but without providing education with it, access to information just isn’t fair.”
That’s not to say that wearables should be dismissed. They have huge potential to benefit consumers and providers, along with many challenges.