Wearable technology will enable the successful implementation of telehealth according to many commentators. Eight million people in the UK already use some form of wearable technology and many of these are wellness or health-related devices such as heart rate and activity monitors.
Technology advances – including miniaturisation, enhanced connectivity, improved usability, reduced cost, increased reliability and battery life – explain why industry leaders expect wearable technology to become ubiquitous. Battery life is expected to improve further, and exciting new possibilities including technologies that allow energy to be harvested from the environment, body heat or movement will come on stream soon.
Already, over 300 companies are devoted to ‘digital health’ and there has been a massive rise in those displaying wearable technology. In addition, Transparency Market Research estimates that the market for wearable technology was worth $750 million in 2012, growing at a Compound Annual Growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $5.8 billion in 2018. Over $2 billion of this will be health and wellness related.
By helping people lead healthier lives, manage chronic conditions and improve access to care, wearable technology can play a key role in reducing the primary care bill. As the primary care system costs the UK taxpayer up to £52 billion each year, any technology that engages patients and helps them manage their own symptoms can make a significant difference.
Wearable Technology: Putting the patient at the centre of healthcare
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Wearable technology holds a great deal of potential for healthcare. But how can the sector ensure it is deriving the greatest possible benefit? Our wearable technology report explores the potential for wearable technology in three areas: