MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wearing a device that tracks your fitness is nothing new, but there are some in development that go beyond tracking movement, being designed with biosensors which some believe could lead to better health overall.
Jana Eggers, an athlete and technologist, wears gadgets that track everything from her steps to the amount of sunlight she gets.
“For me, technology improves health by helping you track it,” Eggers said.
She uses wearable tech like the SunSprite for self-monitoring, but is interested in the potential benefits of wearables in a healthcare setting.
“I would think that physicians could utilize technology,” Eggers said.
With products in development which aim to track what’s going on inside the wearer’s body, experts say healthcare is the next frontier for wearable tech.
Unity Stoakes is the co-founder of Startup Health.
“It’s moving beyond fitness trackers and health trackers to really becoming medical devices integrated into aspects of our daily lives,” said Stoakes.
Stoakes said wearable tech for healthcare could empower consumers by giving them access to vital health information on an ongoing basis—and that’s not it.
“One of the biggest opportunities really is to really connect the patient with their doctor in a lot more efficient and easy ways,” said Stoakes.
Dr. Michael Munger of the American Academy of Family Physicians said wearable gadgets could give doctors a better picture of what’s really going on with patients.
“It’s going to allow me to have a chance to see what the patient is doing with their various treatment programs in their own environment as they’re living day to day, not just simply what I see when they’re in the exam room,” said Dr. Munger.
But Dr. Munger said that a device, while helpful, should never take the place of an ongoing relationship with your physician.
“Information is power, but too much information can be noise. So it’s going to be very important that the physician is there to help guide the patient,” Dr. Munger said.
Another issue that should not be forgotten is that the security of sensitive medical data. Stoakes said we’re still in the early days for wearbles and healthcare.
“There’re a lot of important things to figure out: issues around privacy, regulatory hurdles, designing new analytics platforms that make all the great data coming in from these devices actionable,” Stoakes said.
As for Eggers, she is not concerned about privacy when it comes to wearable tech she already uses and she is happy to have tech to track her activity.
“It’s small, it’s with me and it, it keeps track so I don’t have to,” Eggers said.
Dr. Munger said this type of technology could help empower patients to pay more attention to their health and allow them to stay involved in their treatment.