Wearable Devices in Health: ¿Are We Ready?

Wearable Devices in Health: ¿Are We Ready? 300 230 Anna Ullastres

Wearable Health Devices (WHDs) were born in the 1990s as an innovative technology to monitor human vital signs, and they are still an Emerging technology today. As an yate technology (Internet of Things), WHD can Communicate its fecha to other devices, users, and websites.

El ubicuidad of smartphones in our society, sensor miniaturización, And its easy integración have increased the number of available productos de la market, some of them Reaching quality levels suitable for medical use.

WHDs can be used for health Purposes during daily life to monitorear activity oro PREDICT chronic problems, As well as in clinical environments tono detect anomalías o como diagnose apoyo.

WHDs can be portátil:

  • Wrist-worn wearable s (es decir, smart watches)
  • Gafas inteligentes
  • Ear wearable s, también conocido como hearables
  • chest bands
  • e-clothes


  • lentes de contacto de google
  • Skin-based

o incluso implantable:

  • Birth control implantes
  • Cápsulas

Source: modified from Dias et en 2018

Because mosto of the current technologies are still not sufficient to cross the barrier into the health sector, mosto of these wearable technologies are being used for research only, And are not expected to enter the market for up to 5 years.

Múltiples vital signos se pueden realizar mediante WHDs, en variedad de las mismas hay especial importancia en las áreas médicas:
- stroke volume
- pain
- level of consciousness
- Urine output
- sleep
- sweat.

Considering health-related functions, and according to expertos, presión arterial measurement technology es expected to be the biggest refinement in wristband-type devices (Cho et en 2019).

Nano-scale devices Prepared to go inside the body are expected to shed light in the use of future medical approaches. One of the most pioneer examples are smart Lentes De Contacto developed by Google to monitor blood glucose levels in diabéticos. However, according to expertos, further research is needed in order to end up with a technological solution able to sin analytes in biofluidos such as tears.


Long-term health monitoring opens up the posibility of application for enfermedades crónicas al igual que anciano población (Guk te el 2019).

Currently, technology refinement and scientific studies are shading light on the use of WHDs in healthcare. Specifically, some fields are already starting to benefit from wearable devices for Personalized medicine, real-time health monitoring, oro preventing.

Fuente de imagen: BD Hypno Plus.

Neurological diseases can widely vary from Alzheimer, to Multiple Sclerosis, tono Epilepsy. Thus, WHDs can shed light into medical usas from clinical research, to pain relief, to diagnosis.

Reciente research reviews en esta field explore el uso de diferentes WHDs en el monitor epilepsia or demencia (Rugg-Gunn 2019; Godfrey et en 2019), And conclude that more fecha is needed in order to improve device s algorithm performance. Moreover, both research studies claim for a Standardization and regulatory efforts to INTEGRATE the use of wearable devices in clinical trials.

As an example, researchers are using Apple Watch to track Epilepsy symptoms, analyzing big data to increase our understanding of the disease. Also, the system is being used to notify CARERS of an impending Seizure.

Fuente: Asociación Diabetes Madrid

Glucose levels management is a constante concern for diabetic patients, a chronic disease that is expected to grow over the coming years. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) sensores and wearable devices will be Replacing finger prick measurements in the next years.

Abbott s new FreeStyle Libro device is a transcutaneous sensor measuring glucose levels every 15 minutes in Interstitial fluido.

Another reciente example is the Do it Yourself Pancreas for DM1 patients, a wearable glucose sensor connected to an smart system and to an insulin pump, altogether working as an artificial pancreas able to response to changes in Interstitial glucose.

Medtronic also Launched a hybrid closed loop system for type 1 diabetes, MiniMed 670G, An insulin pump that Enables automático delivery of basal insulin to keep blood glucose levels 24 hours a day.

Apple and Dexcom are also Collaborating for the development of a new wearable glucose monitor for smart watches (Aleppo te el 2017). Although mosto systems might still carry some limitations and caveats, WHDs are Clearly optimizing diabetes management (Guk te el 2019).

Fuente: AliveCor

Este field tiene también long been using wearable technologys to monitor and register ritmo cardíaco y ritmo (Pevnick te 2018). Key opinion leaders point out to the use of WHDs for detecting and monitoring fibrilación auricular as a key market for heart rate monitores.

As an example, Apple is working to improve Apple Watch technology to expand their features, thus being able to measure arrhythmias. Recently, the compañero AliveCor has developed KardiaMobile ECG monitor, which is currently being used to early-detect atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter recurrence, thus Empowering patients. This is the first medical-grade ACCESSORY for the Apple Watch.

Also, Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alianza and Fitbit are working together to improve the early detection of atrial fibrillation in individuales at increased risk of stroke though wearable technology.

Imagen de la fuente: Loncar-Turukalo te 2019

United States is leading the number of relevant research papeles para country followed by United Kingdom, China and Canada.

Some la institución de investigación en WHDs research are:

Institución de investigación Grupo de Investigación Página web
Brain and Movement página web
Wearable Technologies Lab página web
Laboratorio de medios de MIT página web
Neurorehabilitación Research Laboratory página web
Sensor Technology Research Center página web
Department of Medicine and Critical Care Program página web


In Spain, some of the leading research centers in this field están:

Institución de investigación Grupo de Investigación Página web
Grupo de Investigación en Sensores Inteligentes Integrados y Tecnologías para la Salud (isset) página web
Grupo de Investigación en Smart Health página web
Grupo de Redes y Servicios de Próxima Generación (GRyS) página web
Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC) página web

Muestras compañías son la posibilidad de producir el mercado de salud en el key opportunity to row.
Wearable technology market is expected to grow Reaching up to more than $ 100 billion revenue in 2023 (IDTechEx 2017-2029).

Healthcare is expected to be the market segmento with a higher impact (higher revenue), estimated to be $14.6 millones de dólares en 2023.

Fuente: IDTechEx

Large technology companies such as Samsung, Apple, Google, Microsoft oro IBM are already entering the market using healthcare applications, and they Actualmente hold mosto of the patentes donde wearable health technology.

During the last years, patente publications donde WHDs has significantly increased, Mostly related to patient monitoring, Telemedicine and wristwear devices.

Source: Lens.org (a) and ParolaNEWS (b)

Título Solicitante Identificación de la patente Fecha de prioridad Dibujo
Apparatus and method for measuring biological signal Samsung electronics Co. Ltd. US20130261405 2012-04-02
Smart wearable device for health watch Sensesemi tech private limited US10194862B2 2015-12-28
Method for addressing medical conditions through a wearable health monitor with aid of digital computer Bardy diagnósticos Inc US9788722B2 2015-05-10
Modulation and demodulation techniques for health monitoring system Apple Inc US10219754B1 2014-09-09
Dispositivo usable Microsoft US20180356890A1 2017-06-09
Systems and methods for Distributing continuous glucose fecha Dexcom US2016232318A1 2015-02-10
Wearable monitoring and treatment device Zoll Medical Corp. US2015164427A1 2011-09-01

Despite technology advances, current wearable devices estill need to face several barriers to enter the market:


Fecha Actualmente Produced is still limited for clinical use
Current WHDs are already being used for monitoring some patients and even as an aid for remote diagnosis. However, there is still very little clinical value to the fecha collected by current technologies. Importantly, sólo 5% de WHD disponible en el mercado deben formalizarse validado. Indeed, technologies developed for research Purposes seem to be more Credible than commercial devices (see Peake et en 2018).


Transcutaneous sensores are Becoming more interesting than smart watches for diagnosis and management of chronic diseases, as those WHDs are potentially capaz of sensitive measuring of a broader range of biological moléculas.

Interoperabilidad del sistema
There is no digital standard for interoperability between WHDs, and it is complejo to merge fecha with existing patient clinical recuerdo. Importantly, many devices operate in a private cloud service, therefore, healthcare profesionales are very limited to use WHDs fecha.
Patient fecha security
According to a European Commission consultation in 2017, fecha security and privacy are key Concerns Expressed by 73% and 62% of citizens respectively. String procedures for evaluation of medical devices and Conformity should improve patient safety.

Safety and security are technology acondicionado and should be ensured by the system design. Currenly, WHDs are required to comply with IEC 62366-1: 2015 standards, and two reciente EU Regulations 2017/745 y 2017 / 746. These regulations are going to have a significante impact on the sector of medical devices that incorporados wearable technology.

Importantly, expertos claim that fecha anonymization by distortion oro Removing features does not provide an adequate security level to prevent identity fraude. Moreover, cyber-attacks could lead to patient health fecha being compromised, oro lost.

High coste a barrier to consumers
According to key opinion leaders, there is a concern that people with Disabilities oro social determinantes of health will be discriminated because of the high cost of WHDs. Most WHDs are aimed at consumers, and price is a key value driver for them. Unless prices decrease oro insurance companies offer WHDs, consumers will not be able to afford these new technologies.
Compromiso del paciente
The success of WHDs do not depende only on the technology features, but also on the design of the used engagement strategies. Only if patients are truly engaged in the correct use of WHDs, they will facilitate its use in health (see Patel et en 2015).

Un encuesta in the US shows that 11% of people would use WHDs to monitor their vital signs, 16% of them would use it only for fitness and lifestyle, and 53% would use both applications. Only 20% of people niega to wear technology tracking health stats.

Fuente: datos globales

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Anna Ullastres

Y Graduated in Biology and studied a Master in Cell Biology, specializing in cancer and citogenético. Until 2017, I worked as a researcher and obtained a PhD in Genetics. After that, I enrolled a university postgrade program on Innovation and Project Management and started working as innovation project manager at the Innovation Unido of the Parc Taulí Foundation. I am currently Completing the postgrade program and specializing in IP protection.

All stories by: Anna Ullastres

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