Wearable Technology in Healthcare: Industry Insights 2024

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Wearable technology in healthcare is one of the key trends in the healthtech industry, addressing the growing demand for personalized and remote patient care solutions. These innovative devices facilitate continuous health monitoring and data collection, empowering individuals to actively manage their well-being.

Aloa, a software outsourcing firm, has experience in the healthcare technology industry. Our focus is primarily on keeping up with the trends rather than specializing in wearable technology specifically. However, our diverse expertise allows us to adapt and provide valuable insights to clients seeking innovative solutions in this evolving field.

In this blog, we delve into industry insights regarding wearable technology in healthcare, exploring its impact on patient care and healthcare delivery. By the end, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how wearable health technology transforms the healthcare industry and empowers individuals to take proactive control of their well-being.

Let’s dive in!

What is Wearable Technology in Healthcare?

Wearable technology in healthcare refers to electronic devices crafted to be worn, offering continuous monitoring across various health and wellness aspects. Originally, wearables were all about fitness, but now they can monitor your workouts, track how well you sleep, and even keep tabs on your own health.

These devices are gaining popularity, with over 30 percent of Americans using wearable health tracking tools, including athletes, healthcare professionals, and everyday users. Wearables have the potential to transform healthcare by detecting health issues early, offering personalized health advice, and enabling remote monitoring.

Common Types of Wearable Technology in Healthcare Today

Wearable technology in healthcare has revolutionized health management, offering essential tools for a healthy lifestyle. These devices enable individuals to monitor their well-being effectively, shaping how they track and maintain their health. Here are the common types of wearable devices that have become essential tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

1. Blood Pressure Monitors - Vital Sign Monitoring

As wearable technology in healthcare, blood pressure monitors are designed to continuously monitor a patient’s blood pressure throughout the day, providing vital insights into cardiovascular health. According to data from Medgadget, the global blood pressure monitoring devices market size was estimated at USD 1,037.2 million in 2017, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2023 to 2030.

Blood pressure monitors for vital sign monitoring
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With around 1.28 billion people worldwide suffering from hypertension, there is a significant demand for blood pressure monitors, especially for those at risk due to lifestyle-associated disorders like obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

Standard Features of a Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Automatic Inflation: Blood pressure monitors with automatic inflation inflate the cuff to the appropriate pressure level automatically, eliminating the need for manual inflation. This feature ensures consistent and accurate readings without the risk of human error.
  • Irregular Heartbeat Detection: Some blood pressure monitors can detect irregular heartbeats during measurement. This feature alerts the user to potential arrhythmias, providing valuable information for monitoring heart health.
  • Memory Function: Many blood pressure monitors have a memory function that stores multiple readings over time. This feature allows users to track their blood pressure trends and share data with healthcare providers to better manage hypertension and related conditions.
  • Large Display: Blood pressure monitors with a large display make it easier for users to read and interpret their blood pressure readings. This feature mainly benefits individuals with visual impairments or who prefer a more transparent and user-friendly interface.

2. Glucose Meters - Diabetic Glucose Monitoring

Glucose monitors, a wearable technology in healthcare, are designed to monitor blood sugar levels continuously, offering convenience and ease of use for individuals with diabetes. These devices are typically worn on the body, with options for placement on the upper arm or abdomen or even integrated into smartwatches, making them accessible and discreet for diabetic patients’ everyday use.

According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the Global Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring Devices market size is estimated to grow by USD 24,765 million at a CAGR of 7.6% between 2022 and 2030. The increasing demand for non-invasive monitoring and diagnostic procedures, coupled with the rising prevalence of diabetes, is driving market growth.

Glucose meters: wearable technology in healthcare
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Common Features of Glucose Meters

  • Compact Design: Glucose meters are designed to be small and lightweight, allowing for easy portability and discreet use wherever and whenever needed.
  • Accurate Measurements: These devices provide precise readings of blood glucose levels, ensuring individuals with diabetes can confidently monitor and manage their condition effectively.
  • Data Storage Capabilities: Glucose meters often come with built-in memory or connectivity features that enable storing and tracking glucose readings over time, facilitating long-term management and analysis of glucose levels.
  • User-friendly Interface: With intuitive interfaces and transparent displays, glucose meters offer ease of use for individuals of all ages and levels of technological proficiency, promoting seamless integration into daily diabetes management routines.

3. ECG Monitors - Heart Rhythm Analysis

ECG monitors are devices designed to continuously monitor and analyze the heart’s electrical activity. This wearable technology in healthcare is typically worn as chest straps, patches, or integrated into intelligent clothing. They are commonly used by individuals with heart conditions like atrial fibrillation, angina, or coronary artery disease for real-time heart rhythm analysis and monitoring.

ECG Monitors - Heart Rhythm Analysis
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Data Bridge Market Research shows that the global wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors market is projected to grow significantly, with an expected CAGR of around 23.9% between 2022 and 2029. The market, valued at USD 2.13 billion in 2021, is forecasted to reach USD 11.83 billion by 2029.

This growth is attributed to factors such as the rising prevalence of atrial fibrillation, the aging population, and the increasing incidence of cardiovascular diseases. The market report provides comprehensive insights into market dynamics, including market value, growth rate, market segments, geographical coverage, and regulatory framework, among others, to facilitate informed decision-making in the healthcare sector.

Common Features of ECG Monitors

  • Continuous Monitoring: ECG monitors provide real-time monitoring of heart rhythm, enabling early detection of irregularities or abnormalities.
  • Wireless Connectivity: Many ECG monitors offer wireless connectivity, allowing convenient data transmission to healthcare providers or mobile applications for remote monitoring and analysis.
  • Long Battery Life: ECG monitors have long-lasting battery life, ensuring uninterrupted monitoring without frequent recharging, ideal for extended wear periods.

4. Fitness Trackers - Activity Monitoring

Fitness trackers, a prominent wearable technology in healthcare, are electronic devices designed to monitor and track users’ fitness activities and health metrics. These devices, connected via the internet or smartphones, provide long-term fitness data tracking, including step count, heart rate, sleep quality, calorie consumption, and exercise routines. 

With features like goal setting and heart rate monitoring, fitness trackers are crucial in promoting an active lifestyle and helping users manage their health effectively.

Wearable technology in healthcare: Fitness Trackers
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According to Allied Market Research, the global wearable fitness trackers market exhibited substantial growth, with a market size valued at $38.68 billion in 2020, projected to reach $124.32 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 17.3% from 2021 to 2028. Factors such as increasing awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the rising demand for health monitoring devices are driving the growth of the wearable fitness tracker market.

Common Features of Fitness Trackers

  • Activity Tracking: Fitness trackers monitor athletic performance, such as steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and active minutes throughout the day, providing insights into overall activity levels.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: These devices offer continuous monitoring, enabling users to track their heart rate zones during exercise and rest, aiding in optimizing workouts and monitoring cardiovascular health.
  • Smartphone Notifications: Many fitness trackers, in conjunction with mobile health apps, provide smartphone notifications for calls, texts, emails, and app alerts, enabling users to stay connected while exercising without checking their phones.

5. Sleep Trackers - Sleep Pattern Monitoring

Sleep trackers, a significant component of wearable technology in healthcare, are devices designed to monitor and analyze users’ sleep patterns and quality. Typically worn on the wrist like a wristband or hand band or in the form of a wearable ring, these devices use sensors to track various sleep parameters such as sleep duration, sleep cycles, and disturbances throughout the night. 

They are primarily worn by individuals seeking to improve their sleep quality or those diagnosed with sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome.

According to Future Market Insights, the global Wearable Sleep Tracker Market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period, reaching US$ 3.1 billion by the end of 2028. The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to grow significantly, with a nearly 11% CAGR over the forecast period. Factors driving the demand for sleep tracker devices include the increasing prevalence of sleep disorders globally, such as sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and insomnia.

Sleep tracker market analysis for wearable healthcare tech.
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Additionally, these wearable technology in healthcare offers convenience and accuracy in tracking sleep patterns, contributing to their growing adoption among users. Companies’ innovative measures in incorporating sleep-tracking features and efforts to expand their online presence are expected to further boost the wearable sleep tracker market’s growth in the coming years.

Common Features of a Sleep Tracker

  • Sleep Pattern Analysis: Sleep trackers monitor and analyze sleep patterns, including sleep duration, quality, and stages, providing insights into sleep habits and overall sleep health.
  • Sleep Environment Monitoring: Some sleep trackers measure environmental factors such as room temperature, humidity, and noise levels, helping users create optimal sleep environments for better rest.
  • Smart Alarms: Sleep trackers often include innovative features that wake users during their lightest sleep phase, reducing grogginess and promoting more natural waking patterns.
  • Sleep Coaching: Many sleep trackers offer personalized recommendations and coaching based on sleep data, helping users identify and address factors affecting their sleep quality.

6. Temperature Monitors - Body Temperature Tracking

Temperature monitors, a wearable technology in healthcare, are devices designed to track and monitor body temperature in real time. Typically worn on the body, these monitors can be wearable patches or bands embedded with temperature sensors. 

They are commonly worn by individuals needing continuous temperature monitoring, such as patients with infectious or chronic diseases or in high-risk environments where temperature fluctuations can indicate potential health issues.

Temperature monitors in healthcare wearable technology.
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According to Precedence Research, the global patient temperature monitoring market size was estimated at USD 3.5 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach around USD 6.66 billion by 2032, with an expected CAGR of 6.7% from 2023 to 2032. The North American market accounted for USD 1.18 billion in 2022.

Common Features of a Temperature Monitor

  • Continuous monitoring: Temperature monitors track body temperature continuously, providing real-time data on fluctuations that may indicate illness or other health concerns.
  • Fever alerts: Many temperature monitors feature fever alerts, notifying users when their temperature exceeds preset thresholds and facilitating early detection of febrile conditions.
  • Remote monitoring: Temperature monitors equipped with wireless connectivity allow for remote body temperature monitoring, enabling healthcare professionals to monitor patients’ temperatures from a distance.
  • Historical data tracking: Temperature monitors store historical temperature data, allowing users and healthcare providers to track trends over time and identify patterns that may indicate changes in health status.

7. Oxygen Monitors - Blood Oxygen Level Monitoring

Oxygen monitors are wearable technology in healthcare that are designed to monitor blood oxygen levels in real time. These monitors are typically worn on the finger, wrist, or other body parts. They are commonly used by individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD or those undergoing surgical procedures. They provide vital information about the oxygen saturation levels in the blood, helping individuals and healthcare professionals monitor respiratory health.

Oxygen Monitors - Blood Oxygen Level Monitoring
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According to Grand View Research, the global pulse oximeter market size was valued at USD 2.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% from 2023 to 2030. The increasing burden of respiratory conditions and the surge in surgical procedures and hospitalization drive the demand for pulse oximeter devices worldwide.

Governments globally have mandated continuous oxygen saturation level monitoring for patients with chronic respiratory conditions, leading to increased adoption of pulse oximeters. Companies are also ramping up production to meet the higher demand for these devices, indicating lucrative growth prospects in the forecast period.

Common Features of Oxygen Monitors

  • Oxygen Saturation Measurement: Oxygen monitors accurately measure blood oxygen levels, providing real-time information about the body’s oxygenation status.
  • Portable Design: Oxygen monitors are designed to be compact and portable, allowing users to carry them wherever they go for continuous monitoring of oxygen saturation levels.
  • Alarm Function: Oxygen monitors often include alarm functions to alert users when oxygen saturation levels fall below or exceed predetermined thresholds, ensuring timely intervention in case of oxygen-related health issues.

Sensors Used in Wearable Technology in Healthcare

Sensors are integral components of wearable technology in healthcare, enabling the collection and transmission of vital health data in real-time. Here are the wearable sensors used in digital health technologies that are crucial in monitoring various physiological parameters:

Sensors Used in Wearable Technology in Healthcare
  • Photodiode Sensors: These sensors are integrated into wearable devices to measure light absorption, enabling features like heart rate monitoring by detecting blood volume changes in the skin.
  • Complementary Metal–Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) Sensors: Widely used in wearable devices for their high accuracy, they capture images and detect patterns, essential for functions like ECG monitoring in smartwatches.
  • Biosensors: In wearable health monitors, biosensors detect and measure biological signals like glucose levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, providing real-time health data to users.
  • Accelerometers: Accelerometers measure acceleration, allowing devices to track physical activities, detect falls, and provide insights into movement patterns.
  • Temperature Sensors: Integrated into wearable patches, temperature sensors monitor body temperature variations, aiding in the early detection of fever or hypothermia, especially in remote patient monitoring systems.
  • Pulse Oximeters: Commonly integrated into smartwatches or dedicated wearable devices, pulse oximeters measure blood oxygen levels, assisting in respiratory and cardiac health monitoring, particularly in patients with COPD or sleep apnea.

Advantages of Using Wearable Technology for Healthcare

Wearable technology in healthcare offers numerous advantages for various stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, and researchers. Here are the advantages of integrating wearable technology into healthcare systems, enabling better health outcomes and patient care:

Advantages of Using Wearable Technology for Healthcare

Promote Proactive Healthcare

Wearable technology, part of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), enables regular health monitoring, allowing users to detect deviations in vital signs early. This proactive approach helps individuals take timely action to prevent serious health issues. At the same time, clinicians can promptly respond to alerts and initiate treatment, enhancing care delivery and patient-centricity.

Boost Patient Engagement

Wearable technology in healthcare provides users access to valuable health data, empowering them to stay informed about their health conditions and gain control. This engagement fosters a collaborative doctor-patient environment, involving patients continuously maintaining their health.

Reduce Healthcare Costs

By promoting health, minimizing disease risks, and improving early diagnosis, wearable technology contributes to reduced healthcare costs. Patients spend less on doctor visits, while healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely to avoid readmission charges and loss of reimbursements, resulting in overall medical cost reduction.

Decrease Staff Workload

Wearable technology in healthcare generates personal health data that doctors can analyze for remote patient monitoring, facilitating communication and minimizing in-person visits. This optimizes the workload of healthcare professionals, enhancing operational efficiency in the healthcare industry.

Improved Patient Outcomes

The continuous monitoring capabilities of wearable medical devices, coupled with advancements in sensor development and AI-based analytics, contribute to enhanced patient outcomes. By offering convenient and non-invasive monitoring methods, wearables help prevent health complications, ultimately improving the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Key Takeaway

Wearable technology in healthcare continues to revolutionize patient care by offering proactive monitoring and engagement opportunities. With sensor technology and connectivity advancements, these devices empower individuals to take control of their health while reducing healthcare costs and improving outcomes.

As we embrace the potential of wearable technology, integrating Artificial Intelligence in healthcare further enhances its capabilities, promising a future of wearable technology with personalized and effective healthcare solutions.

Aloa offers tailored solutions that combine technical expertise with market insights to ensure clients stay competitive in their industries. Sign up for our email list through our blog page to stay updated on the latest developments and stats in the IoT health tech industry. We’ll share our insights so you can stay ahead of the curve in 2024.

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