Patient health monitoring via wearable devices is set to revolutionize the life sciences industry over the next few years.
According to the Institute for Health Studies, Wearable Technology - Market Assessment, roughly 50 million wearable units will be sold in 2014, and more than 180 million are predicted to sell in 2018. Wearable devices create new ways for businesses to connect with customers and employees – and wellness, healthcare and medical categories are forecasted as the top applications. Based on these figures it is no surprise that life sciences companies are showing a keen interest./p>
The value that this can bring to the industry is not only limited to monetary rewards – it also provides an opportunity for the industry to be seen as innovative, leading-edge and patient focused.
The recent announcement of the Novartis-Google partnership to create a new contact lens that will measure blood sugar levels (Google smart contact lens focuses on healthcare billions) illustrates that the convergence between technology and medical science will certainly become a reality.
Google is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last company to focus on innovative health monitoring. This announcement follows the recent launch of the Google Fit platform that monitors health factors including exercise, diet and amount of sleep. Apple and Samsung offer similar solutions, and there are a number of apps and wearable devices available today that measure everything from BMI to fertility.
Salesforce.com (SFDC) recently launched Salesforce Wear, a bundle of free tools and reference applications that empower developers to connect companies with their customers through wearable apps. SFDC’s move into this space will likely spur wearables forward as a viable technology across the life sciences industry’s workforce.
Until now, life sciences companies have taken a conservative approach when it comes to patient monitoring through wearables. Unlike the fitness industry, these devices are classified as ‘medical devices’, which are governed by regulations, including trust and privacy concerns.
But the future of the life sciences industry depends on how it adapts to the changing landscape of these new technologies and partners with digital industry leaders that are ahead of the pack to ensure success – and ultimately benefit patient outcomes.