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How health wearables enhance telemedicine

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) | April 27, 2015
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) talks about how technology is interacting and influencing healthcare.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Consumer technology is increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, changing and improving the way we live, work and play. Text messages can now be sent via watches, and toothbrushes are being transformed into gaming consoles. We are seeing the digitization of everyday objects right before our eyes.

With our increasing reliance on portable devices across Asia-Pacific and beyond, mobile consumer technologies are transforming every sector of the economy, including health care. In the emerging world of telemedicine, consumers are beginning to use a host of mobile apps and devices to make simple diagnoses before visiting a doctor, or even connecting with health care providers via those devices.

At the 2015 International CES® in January in the United States, some of the most exciting and promising innovations on the show floor focused on our health and wellness. There were nearly 300 health and biotech exhibitors this year, 35 percent more than last year. Displays included wearable devices that monitor a baby's breathing, online tests to diagnose Alzheimer's disease and an ear probe that pairs with an iPhone to send images to a doctor who offers a diagnosis in less than two hours.

These are among the latest health, wellness, wearable and fitness innovations will be on display for the Asian marketplace at our brand new event, CES Asia, May 25-27 in Shanghai. And many other advances have been realized in part because of the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region can easily access a wealth of information by just tapping their smartphones.

In Singapore, for example, applications such as Health Buddy provide users with a comprehensive list of general practitioners located in their neighborhood. Health Buddy also provides information on a range of health conditions, including signs and symptoms, treatment options and when and where to seek treatment. This information is edited and reviewed by medical doctors and health care professionals.

Consumer technologies like wearables have the power to encourage people to embrace healthier behaviors. From fitness bands that monitor movement and sleep patterns to patches that monitor heart rates, cholesterol levels and body temperatures, these consumer technologies are changing the face of the health care industry.

Coupled with their respective smartphone applications, such innovations provide users with feedback on their health in real time. This information can help convince consumers to make gradual changes to their lifestyles, from diet to exercise to sleep and more.

Wearables will also help minimize our visits to the physician's office, if the data collected from such trackers can be integrated with patients' current medical records. Much data is already tracked and captured related to our health and fitness habits; but that data is "trapped" in these devices. Even when the data is in the cloud, it's not visible to our physicians. Better integration between consumer electronics companies and the major electronic health records vendors could help improve patients' overall health by bringing some of this lost data into patients' records.


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