Imagine this: your aging father just had a heart attack, and since you live clear across the country, you’re worried about how he’s going to cope on his own.
Wouldn’t it be great if your father’s medical team could remotely monitor his cardiac symptoms using a device similar to a FitBit? Should anything be amiss with your father’s heart, his physician could receive an alert then contact your father and alert your family.
That’s exactly what Biotricity, a new healthcare startup, aims to do with its ECG monitoring device bioflux. Biotricity is a turnkey, wearable medical cardiac monitoring solution currently available by prescription, which lets physicians diagnose cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease as well as detect arrhythmias via remote monitoring for up to 30 consecutive days.
Wearable healthcare tech, like Biotricity, got top billing earlier this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. These companies are using algorithms to not only identify risk patterns in data but also to offer managed care through new technology platforms that empower patients to monitor their own health at home.
Technology companies are also thinking beyond wearable healthcare tech and forging major partnerships that will apply cloud services and analytics to personal health care data. Last year, IBM upped its healthcare information technology game by unveiling three major partnerships with Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronics. IBM’s three partnerships all harness the analytics power behind IBM’s supercomputer platform, Watson, and could help IBM play a major role in the emerging personal health information market.
Wearable Healthcare Tech
What’s next on the horizon? From Biotricity’s cardiac monitoring to Medtronic’s predictive hypoglycemia sensor for diabetes patients, these are four of the biggest healthcare tech innovators to watch in 2016:
App that Assists in Concussion Management
As a father, I can attest that it’s a pretty scary experience when a child gets hit in the head and falls down, especially when playing sports. The first thing that comes to mind: what if my child has a concussion — how will I know? Sideline ImPACT is a new app with a brief cognitive test that helps caregivers identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion for immediate management and care of a suspected injury.
The Sideline ImPACT test measures concentration, short-term memory and orientation, and the test can be completed in less than five minutes. While the app is not a replacement for professional health care treatment, it is an extremely important tool for parents, coaches and caregivers to immediately assess an injury and seek appropriate medical care.
Wearable Device for Remote, Cardiovascular Disease Monitoring
In addition to developing Bioflux (described earlier), Biotricity also developed Biolife, a health and lifestyle solution that monitors heart rhythms as well as respiration, calories, temperature and physical activity levels. Unlike FitBit, which leaves data evaluation solely in the hands of the consumer, Biotricity has partnered with a third-party clinical service provider to review the raw data and offer actionable feedback. This empowers patients to take a role in their own preventative care.
A Virtual Pillbox for Medication Reminders
“Take your medication as prescribed” seems like pretty straightforward advice from your physician, but for many busy folks, that advice can be a tough pill to swallow. This is especially true for regimens with multiple doses throughout the day. Missing a dose – or taking multiple doses by accident – can have serious health consequences. Medisafe gives patients an accurate and reliable way to monitor medication intake. Patients know exactly when to take each medication throughout the day and which ones they’ve already taken. The gentle, unobtrusive app reminders work with iOS and Android.
A Tiny Sensor for Predicting Hypoglycemia in Diabetes Patients
Medtronic, which already offers several diabetes monitoring products, is upping its game with a new sensor for predicting a potential hypoglycemia episode in advance. The sensor, approximately the size of a quarter, is worn on the abdomen. The sensor contains a tiny cannula that measures interstitial fluid and uses these measurements to predict upcoming hypoglycemia episodes. Medtronic is currently developing a corresponding smartphone app for monitoring. That app is expected to launch in summer 2016.
The future of healthcare tech is in holistic, solution-based services that combine symptom monitoring with robust data analysis to provide real-time feedback about patient health. Apps have long been changing our lives in innovative ways. Now, innovation within health care tech has the power to save our lives, too.