With the popularity of wearable tech like smartglasses, wristbands, smartwatches, and monitoring chips, the swelling trend of wearable technology is more imperative than ever for companies to invest in.
Cue the 16th annual Wearable Technologies Conference that took off in San Francisco July 9-10, 2015. The conference featured groundbreaking presentations on wearable technology with the potential to change the way we look at both health and fashion. With over 500 attendees, the whole wearable technology industry was represented. Vendors such as chip producers, integrators, network, product, and service solution providers were all present.
One notable innovation to grace the conference was a wearable sensor that helps medical professionals prevent pressure ulcers and other conditions by monitoring the wearer’s movements, warning caregivers whenever patients need to be shifted or turned.
Barrett Larson, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Leaf Healthcare, Inc., spoke about how wearable activity-tracking technology can be utilized by hospitals to help develop analytic abilities and healing results.” There is overwhelming data to support the benefits of progressive mobility in hospitalized patients,” said Larson. “The Leaf system monitors and optimizes care throughout the mobility spectrum, from bed rest to ambulation.”
A technology platform created by Leaf Healthcare is presently being applied to alleviate hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. “Pressure ulcers are very expensive to treat and they pose a huge burden to our healthcare system,” said Larson. “Pressure ulcers are just the beginning, the benefits of progressive mobility are far-reaching. Even our customers are finding new and exciting ways to use the Leaf technology. Recently our system was deployed in a labor and delivery department to help ensure that laboring women are moving sufficiently, since frequent repositioning has been shown to increase the speed of labor and reduce C-Section rates.”
Wearable technology company, Fitbit, recently beat out expectations by more than tripling its revenue to $400 million in the third quarter of the year.
More and more companies are now implementing wearable devices to track their employee’s movements and health — providing their staff with fitness monitors to track their activity levels as part of “wellness” programs. The statistics are later tied to healthcare incentive programs.
For example, oil behemoth BP, has distributed over 24,500 Fitbit fitness trackers to employees of its North American business in 2015 using such an incentive program.
Of course, there are also some dangers of wearable technologies, the most significant one being invasion of privacy. Who knows if this technology will be entirely used for the betterment of man? Society has advanced to the point where all of our actions are digitally monitored; do we really need less discretion in our lives?