Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Wearables market driven by need for patient data

Steve Rogerson
November 21, 2017

The need for more real-time data about patients will drive the market for wearable technology, according to market watcher Frost & Sullivan.
The proliferation of wearables for health and wellness, and the need for more data about the current and future condition of individuals and patients, are key factors propelling market growth. Future growth opportunities focus on the commercialisation and embedding of wearables in skin patches, clothing and electronic skins.
The research assessed market dynamics, research and development opportunities, adoption drivers, technology trends, and challenges for healthcare wearable devices. It identified developers in diverse areas such as electronic skin, smart gloves, glucose sweat sensors, wearable stethoscopes, asthma monitoring patches, smart bandages, smart clothing, and electrocardiogram monitoring.
"To optimise opportunities in wearables for healthcare, technology developers or providers should focus on designing wearable products that are comfortable and convenient," said Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Peter Adrian. "The device should provide accurate, reliable, real-time data and data transmission capabilities without requiring the user to have expertise in wearable sensing or communications technology. Soft, flexible, stretchable sensing materials will be comfortable for the user.”
To succeed in the healthcare wearables ecosystem, players need to provide data that are tightly integrated with the data management system used by healthcare professionals to give more information on the real-time condition of patients. These can be integrated into existing data to drive personalised healthcare and furnish a complete picture of the patient's current and future medical conditions.
Providers should ensure that medical-grade wearables can provide sufficient accuracy, sensitivity and selectivity when monitoring key parameters. They should also look to using wearables to provide data as a service.
The researchers believe it is important to focus on key applications such as the management and monitoring of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's, asthma and mental health, and they should look towards high-growth markets such as the elderly.
"Wearables can provide healthcare professionals with insights into a patient's health," said Adrian. “However, systems need to be developed that support the integration, adoption, privacy and security of data from wearables. It can take a significant effort for healthcare organisations to incorporate actionable data from wearables into the organisation's data collection and storage systems."