Wearable Healthcare Devices Are Expanding Beyond Smartwatches

Jan 22, 2020

Wearable healthcare devices are on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five Americans use a smart watch or fitness tracker and the innovations don’t stop there.

New wearable devices are being developed for all sorts of health conditions.

Tuesday, in an interview on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Dr. Joseph Sirven detailed innovative wearable technology that he has been keeping track of.

Contact lenses are being developed that can track glucose levels. There are dentures that can measure chewing for optimal performance as well as release the user’s medication at the correct time.

There is even a bra that could potentially detect breast cancer based off temperature changes from the person wearing it.

While some of these wearable healthcare devices could be preventative, Sirven said most insurance companies won’t cover them yet, although that could be changing soon. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that an Apple Watch might be able to detect Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat.

While there could be many health benefits to wearable devices, Sirven worries about the potential privacy implications.

Companies might want personal health data for other reasons. Insurance companies could use data from devices to make decisions about a customer’s life insurance coverage.

This type of data usage is already being utilized with car insurance. “It could lead to an issue where they know more about you than you know about yourself,” said Sirven.

Dr. Joseph Sirven is Professor and Chair Emeritus of Neurology for the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

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