By Sarah Daren
Getting complex healthcare information in real-time is a new and exciting development in the field of medicine that is largely made possible by recent advancements in biosensors and wearables. While mercury thermometers are a good example of early biosensors, today’s technology is safer, more accurate, and much more comprehensive than past solutions for detecting changes in patients’ health.
Wearables, which often incorporate sensors, can now go far beyond tracking steps and helping patients to stay active. Today, biosensors can help patients monitor their vitals, deliver information to physicians, and even help elderly people stay independent.
Today’s wearables and the wearables of tomorrow will change healthcare as we know it. Here are just 5 of the many ways biosensors are improving healthcare and safety for people all over the country.
Improved Patient Health Starts With Improving Patient Knowledge
In the past, patients weren’t involved much in their care. Doctors made recommendations and people followed them, often without knowing exactly why. Today, patients have more knowledge than ever before about their overall health and well-being.
Smartphones can give patients a lot of information about their health without the need for any specialized wearables. They can monitor things like sleep, pulse, physical activity, and even blood sugar, through the use of medical apps.
That knowledge comes in handy not only for improving general health, but also when a medical professional needs detailed information about a patient’s lifestyle.
Biosensors Leading the Way for Early Identification
We all know that it’s better to catch a disease early on whenever possible so that it can be treated before the problem gets worse. Unfortunately, many diseases do not produce symptoms until long after they have begun to affect a person’s body. Biosensors may be able to help with early identification and ultimately save lives.
“E-tongue” and “E-nose” devices are minimally-invasive sensors in development which are designed to identify a number of different health issues, ranging from cancer to mental illness. These sensors “smell” and “taste” elements indicating illness and were inspired by the accuracy of the canine nose to detect certain disorders in humans. Their success could help advance the growing field of personalized medicine rapidly.
Biosensors Improving Our Identification of Environmental Hazards
Preventing illness caused by environmental effects in their patients’ lives is an important goal of healthcare professionals. Asthma, for instance, is a condition that often develops during childhood and can be life-threatening in some cases. Researchers at George Washington University are developing wearable sensors to help warn children with asthma of environmental hazards.
This is just one example of the work being done to improve preventative care and patient safety using biosensors. These sensors could give patients who are sensitive to environmental threats more peace of mind and freedom, helping them to prevent triggers that could cause dangerous reactions.
Can Biosensors Improve Efficiency of Health Insurance? You Bet!
In the United States and globally, the cost of healthcare is rising quickly. Healthcare spending has topped $7 trillion worldwide and insurance companies, doctors, and patients are all invested in making the industry more efficient as the population ages.
But how can biosensors help? By helping to manage complex conditions as patients age and preventing illness with early detection and by encouraging healthy habits. Wearables have the potential to reduce the costs of chronic care and keep patients living independently for longer, saving both patients and insurance companies money.
Biosensors Are Improving Safety Across a Number of Industries
Although biosensors are being used directly in healthcare, they are also helping to reduce injury and trauma in a number of other industries.
Fatigue in many sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, leads to a large number of accidents on the job each year. Workers end up in the hospital and may be unable to work for weeks, months, or longer. Biosensors can help managers to spot fatigued workers and create a safer environment for everyone on the job.
Wearables: The Future of Personalized Healthcare
Biosensors today are able to deliver specific, relevant health data about an individual patient in real-time. Personalized healthcare, which aims to improve outcomes by taking all of the factors involved with a patient’s health and using that information to create both preventative plans and treatment options, is much more powerful with the use of wearables.
With the latest advancements in these incredible devices, patients can be more involved in their own health and receive top-quality custom care in any medical setting.