Wearables have the potential to transform healthcare through the ability to remotely measure and analyze patient data in real-time. As the technology becomes more disease-specific with therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities it will ultimately lower costs and increase efficiencies, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.
In 2018, the wearable tech market was worth nearly $23bn and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% to reach $54bn by 2023.
The company’s latest report, “Wearable Technology in Healthcare – Thematic Research”, found that investment in wearable technology has become an increasing priority for healthcare organizations and networks, with technology incumbents becoming ever more engrained within the healthcare value chain.
Wearables have been adopted in a wide range of fields; with their greatest potential in healthcare to address spiraling healthcare costs, aging populations and the burden of chronic disease. However, there are many barriers that must be overcome before widespread adoption including cost, reimbursement, data quality and lack of clinical evidence, as well as regulations, technology capacity, and cybersecurity.
“A prominent shift is expected for wearable technology devices from the health and fitness segment, such as data storage and tracking devices, to using the technology for remote patient monitoring and big data applications,” Roxanne Balfe, MSc, Digital Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement. “Within five to ten years, it is expected that these devices in healthcare will become more disease-specific with therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities that will ultimately lower costs and increase efficiencies, moving towards a preventative model of healthcare.”
Although pharma makes up a small proportion of the wearable technology space at present, which brought in over $22.9bn in 2018, GlobalData foresees that wearable tech will lead to a fully integrated system in pharma that can utilize wearables to gather rich pools of data to personalize patient care and optimize clinical trials, while promoting consumer health and preventative medicine.
“The pharmaceutical industry will be able to drive to the next level of innovation and analytics, for example by using the data captured by wearables to more effectively monitor and analyze health metrics during trials and intervene where necessary. This personalized approach will provide physicians with the tools to make the best treatment decisions for patients,” Balfe added.