Through the years, information technology has continued to change the face of the healthcare industry. Several software products and applications have been developed to aid healthcare professionals, helping improve the delivery of patient care.
One of today’s latest innovations is wearable technology, or accessories or gadgets that let consumers incorporate technology into their everyday life. It has since been successfully marketed for fitness: Health enthusiasts rely on their gadgets to record and monitor their progress in terms of time consumed, distance covered, and calories burned while exercising.
But wearable technology is bound to become popular in other fields as well. Today, a device called Google Glass is being tapped into for healthcare purposes. Although not initially intended for the industry, it comes with seemingly endless possibilities.
Currently, healthcare professionals use Google Glass to access and look at patients’ records even while they are mobile. They can also be notified as soon as patient’s lab results arrive. It also allows physicians to view and interpret the findings, and make a decision right then and there.
Google Glass also allows physicians from different parts of the globe to see through the eyes of the doctor conducting the surgery. This way, doctors can learn surgical techniques by watching the procedure from start to finish. They can also provide input, which makes it a collaborative experience for the parties involved.
Wearable technology does not only cater to healthcare practitioners, but even professionals that are promoting public health. Innovators have made it possible for gadgets like Google Glass to be used outside the walls of hospitals and other medical institutions. Recently, for example, Australian Breastfeeding Association partnered with IT company Small World Social and came up with the Breastfeeding Support Program. This project’s aim is to guide young mothers through the breastfeeding process. Should they wish to, they can also use the Google Glass to contact a breastfeeding counsellor regarding their concerns about their child’s health.
Indeed, wearable technology has paved the way for mobile healthcare. It has made it possible for care to be delivered and received in a manner that is faster, cheaper, and more convenient both for patients and physicians, and especially even when the ill person cannot come to a medical facility immediately.
Like other telehealth breakthroughs, wearable technology is changing and will continue to change the way patients and families experience healthcare services. Because of this, policymakers, the healthcare industry, and businesses need to invest in the development of these innovations.
After graduating from Yale with a B.A. in Economics, Richard Kimball Jr. spent over two and a half decades advising healthcare organizations on strategy and capital structure and leading and building both early stage and more established businesses. Rick started at Morgan Stanley and rose to Managing Director. More recently he was Chief Strategy & Growth officer at Accretive Health. Rick is a Trustee of The Brookings Institution, a Fellow in Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute and a member of the World President’s Organization. Rick is currently CEO of HEXL, a population health management start up.