The changing face of healthcare illustrated one of the most lucrative markets that will be expanding in 2016. Technology is exploding and with the rapid changes to healthcare, devices are being created to track and analyze information about a person’s health. This data can be remotely transmitted and provided to medical personnel who could then be able provide targeted treatment.
New wearable devices are being created which can be used to remotely monitor a multitude of data. This will allow the companies to continuously track blood glucose levels providing alerts when levels get too high or too low. How insurance companies will utilize this data in assigning our premiums is anybody’s guess. However, the intersection of personal data with wearable devices and how third parties might use it will soon become a reality.
Local, state, and federal laws have not caught up to the transforming landscape of the digital world. The newer digital requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, states physicians must keep electronic medical records. As such, the newer wearable devices and complementary platforms are being developed that allow busy doctors to provide routine monitoring and medical care within current regulations.
Forbes magazine last month stated that the wearable medical device industry is predicated to grow to a six billion dollar industry. The overall growth in the industry of personal healthcare is predicted to explode worldwide and will likely eclipse one hundred billion in the next 18 months. Obtaining and sharing health related information will soon be obsolete as patients and providers find new ways of interacting with one another. By bridging the digital divide with wearable technology, providers can reach out to patients in a variety of areas and will no longer be constrained by transportation or geographic limitations.
Already companies are trying to reach niche patient populations to gather data and feedback, with hopes of transforming healthcare into an on-demand service. By bringing down the costs of wearable devices and getting more sensors attached to consumers, the potential for obtaining large amounts of data and having it analyzed and interpreted will be the next logical step.
The focus of the United States healthcare system will be to drive down cost by relying upon more preventative and healthcare delivery systems. The traditional fee for service model is outdated, expensive, and no longer provides the best value per dollar being spent. Instead, incentives for both the patient and the physician will be emphasized on maintaining a healthier lifestyle metrics and avoid the costly diseases of lifestyle choices.
In 2016, data storage and analysis will enable the consumer to manage their own health with real time information. Bringing wearable technology to the forefront will allow for the customization of medical treatment. On the research front, wearable devices will be linked with clinical trials to promote the development of new medicines to treat diseases that continue to plague society. This week, CES 2016 is expected to highlight the latest and greatest in wearable devices and services, continuing the transition to a more empowered patient.