The near-term adoption of healthcare wearable technologies is closer than we think

May 7, 2021 | by Gracia Larrain

The pandemic was instrumental in bringing the topics of remote care and telehealth not just to the mainstream but to the top of people’s minds. Among the verticals that accompany this new wave of patient care is the category of healthcare wearable technologies, while still in its infancy and with pain points and kinks to iron out and address, it affords a whole new level of accessibility and control that patients have long been yearning for when it comes to their own care.

Well beyond the convenience factor, the wearable technology market is one that has just begun to scratch the surface and demonstrated it’s one to keep on the radar. Estimates are reporting the market will bring in $116.2 billion this year and $265.4 billion by 2026, which is demonstrative of its impressive potential as a healthcare benefit that is poised for near-term adoption.

The appeal of wearable technology comes down to the simplicity of the products themselves. From Fitbits to smartwatches, these wearable devices are designed to collect users’ personal health and exercise data, which has been instrumental in cultivating a new level of awareness and accountability for consumers. And with this wave of new interest and investment in the space has come an increased desire from insurers and companies to supply wearable technologies to consumers as the benefits are immeasurable. 

Of all the various wearable technologies in production, those that are causing the most furor are the ones specifically targeting healthcare and technology in the workplace. These two areas - remote care and remote work - were the standouts of the past year and forever changed the industry and its direction, creating a new lens through which consumers considered the viability and need for wearable technology and its potential. 

With health and safety as top priorities in the wearable technology space, the question becomes what next? From adding blood oxygen and ECG sensors to devices as well as built-in thermometers, the market is becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of providing consumers with more options to obtain more specialized data, whether or not they’re prepared to receive it or use it, so long as they’re able to provide key indicators for how to improve our health, that remains the primary consumer focus.

Now that masks are an indispensable component of anyone’s daily uniform, it’s only a matter of time until we start to see technological innovations in this space as well. After a year of use, we have all become experts in their benefits and pitfalls, and technology stands to make great strides to make the experience more effective and more pleasant for the wearer. Considerations include active filtration, virus-killing UV light functions, voice recognition and even voice amplification to avoid any instances of miscommunication. 

But all this technology relies on connectivity in order to be truly effective and impactful. A strong network is an integral component of wearable technology’s success in terms of the number of devices it can accommodate, their respective data speed levels, as well as the number of services and experiences it will enable the user to have at any given time, and 5G is the solution to all of those challenges.