Wearable Gadgets in Healthcare Management- A Review
Since the civilization journey, the technology has started developing gradually. Technological innovations by the researchers, manufacturers, practitioners and customers are capturing increased attention of wearable gadgets or wearable technology which is also known as wearables. These sensing, information giving and communicating technologies fall under the category of electronic devices that presents the information to users by tracking a user’s lifestyle behaviours in order to provide tools for better health management. These are driving the transformation of health care delivery towards a new path of connected health care. Generally, these devices should be in contact directly or loosely attached to a person i.e., one form of wearables can be operated individually which functions like a connector for device and gives information like a wrist worn fitness tracker., other form of wearables capture the specific actions and execute measuring like heart rate monitor worn around chest. Though these are been existing since decades, it has become lately popular and fashionable as well. This generation has begun with smartphones, which is now a pervasive technology. Wearables are generally tagged with the concept of internet, which transform future health care system. These are promoting the health management by allowing a consumer to self-care by tracking.
Generally, wearables can be worn through eye glasses, clothes, wrist watches, wrist bands, rings, badges, jewellery, shoes etc. Though these devices are ease to use, still the companies, institutions are working to design these devices to provide more comfort, reliable etc. To understand more about these wearables, the awareness is required in order to differentiate these from other technological devices and thereby its distinctive characteristics are to be examined. The main characteristic of wearables is, these are partially or totally hand-free, as they enable the people to access the data while performing their daily routine. According to the literature, the following are the characteristics that wearables should have.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES
The characteristics of wearable technologies must be;
- Convey information in effective manner
- Hand-free functioning
- Socially accepted
Before using these wearables, we have some assumptions on it, particularly on the way it works, its accuracy, reproducibility and efficiency in monitoring and ease of maintenance etc. These include, the concern related to lack of contextual as well as quality of information, battery life, privacy and security, proprietary algorithms and variables for annotating data streams. Maximum systems are developed for fitness market rather than older adults and rehabilitation. In the current trend, the techniques and applications of wearables are focussing on rehabilitation. Under rehabilitation, virtual reality (VR) systems, functional electrical simulation (FES) and activity trackers are the wearable technologies being applied. These facilitate the rehabilitation through exercise programs and develop for specific health applications such as patients with neurological conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, and pulmonary impairment or with pain.
For spreading the wearables, understanding the end-use must go hand in hand with technology development. Many challenges fall behind using wearables in routine as well as long term use which are being addressed in clinical studies like power consumption, durability, usability, comfort etc. Therefore, the advances in technology which is being focussed on wearables have a wide range of rehabilitation applications.