Wearable Medical Devices

What are wearable medical devices?

Wearable medical devices are electronic devices that are worn to track personal health data. Most common wearable medical devices are worn as a watch, although other devices can include rings and ankle straps. 

Wearable medical devices can be worn for personal use, but they can also be used in clinical trials to monitor participants remotely. 

Some of the data collected by wearable medical devices include: 

  • number of steps taken 

  • activity level 

  • flights of stairs climbed 

  • heart rate 

  • blood oxygen saturation 

  • skin temperature 

  • electrocardiogram (ECG)  

  • sleep patterns 

How are wearable medical devices important in healthcare?

Healthcare providers and patients benefit from wearable medical devices in multiple ways. 

First, wearable medical devices allow a physician to obtain a more well-rounded view of their patient’s physical health through remote patient monitoring (RPM). For those who find the doctor’s office stressful, this allows the physician to view their vitals at times when they are not stressed. Additionally, the physician can see how these vitals vary based on their patient’s activity level, such as when walking or running. 

Wearable medical devices also allow patients to play a more central role in their healthcare, which can dramatically improve the care they receive, producing better long-term results. 

Wearable medical devices have also become an important component of clinical trials, allowing the research team to monitor the trial participants virtually. Not only does this provide greater safety to the participant and more data points for the research team, but it also allows the research team to expand the geographical range of the clinical trial since they can monitor virtually. This then results in a clinical trial group that best represents the ideal demographic.