What’s the Trend:
Advancements in digital technologies are changing the way people monitor their own health and interact with healthcare professionals.
At the forefront of the digital health revolution is the new combination of wearables with bio-sensor technology. Wearables are an “on or in-body accessory that enhances the user experience.” A bio-sensor on the other hand is a device that is able to take a biological recognition element and translate it into a signal output. Combined, bio-sensing wearables can provide physiological monitoring in a variety of situations that will continue to shape the future of personal health and healthcare.(1)
Technologies shaping the market are flourishing. The Athos muscle suit for example, is embedded with sensors and is able to track muscle fatigue, perspiration and respiration among other vitals. The information is then communicated to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth technology to help them understand their workout.(2) Oxitone is a watch capable of predicting heart attacks by measuring a patient’s oxygen saturation, heart rate and respiratory rate. A doctor can monitor this remotely and take preventative action via a built-in emergency alert to signal when a potential problem may occur.(3) Google is also testing a prototype “smart” contact lens that would measure glucose straight from the tear ducts to help diabetics manage the disease.(4)
Eric Pilkington, Chief Digital Officer at McCann Health, points out four macro-trends that will accompany the digital health revolution which he labels as “behavioral nudge,” “DIY patient,” “orchestrated care” and “augmented treatment.” People will be incentivized towards wellness and tracking their health. They can self-diagnose more easily and be part of social support communities. With cloud computing technologies doctors can access records easier, faster and provide data-driven care. With the embedded sensors that can monitor a person’s vitals 24/7, patients are able to receive improved and personalized care.(5)
Why it Matters:
Brands are looking to harness these changes as the entire landscape of digital health and wellness is reshaped. For example, companies present in the health sphere are looking to partner with other health-related companies in order to integrate their offerings and provide customers with seamless access to healthcare information.(6)
As this happens and brands begin to capitalize on this trend, it is important to note that they also have a responsibility to provide the same health & wellness opportunities for Hispanics.
Dr. Juan Rivera, Chief Medical Correspondent for UCI, finds that Hispanics are “increasingly using different sources of media to get their information; especially when it comes to healthcare.” He says that he answers hundreds of health related questions via social media each week.(7) This shows that there is a huge space to engage and help Hispanics during this wearables and digital health revolution, which has the capability to boom faster than the mobile and smartphone revolution. Sensors and chip sets are cheaper now than they were at the brink of smartphones, and wearable manufacturers are able to emulate smartphone manufacturers’ dependable internet services with Bluetooth technology.(8) Specialized content curated by brands and health providers, branded apps, and tools that address the Hispanic community are just some of the tactics and strategies that can be used to serve this tech savvy consumer’s health needs.
- Salaberry, Julien de. (2014, June). “The future of bio-sensing wearables.” LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140617011246-386251-the-future-of-bio-sensing-wearables.
- Zolfagharifard, Ellie. (2013, December). “The wearable PERSONAL TRAINER: Gym suit is filled with sensors to give feedback on every aspect of your exercise regime.” Daily Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516867/The-wearable-PERSONAL-TRAINER-Gym-suit-filled-sensors-feedback-aspect-exercise-regime.html.
- Blakeway, Leonie. (2014, January). “A Growing Role in Health Care for Smartwatches.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/fashion/a-growing-role-in-health-care-for-smartwatches.html?_r=1.
- The Associated Press. (2014, January). “Google announces ‘smart’ contact lenses that monitor glucose levels.” Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/01/16/google-announces-contact-lens-glucose-monitor/.
- “Health, Wellness & Wearables.” (2014, October). AdWeek Conference. Eric Pilkington lecture, Chief Digital Officer at McCann Health. http://adweek.mlbam.com/video/topic/61008702/v36724219.
- Diana, Alison. (2014, October). “Walgreens, WebMD Partner On Wellness Coaching.” InformationWeek Health Care. http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/patient-tools/walgreens-webmd-partner-on-wellness-coaching/d/d-id/1316294.
- Daboub, Jorge. (2014, December). “Getting to Know Dr. Juan, Chief Medical Correspondent for UCI.” UCI Corporate. http://corporate.univision.com/2014/12/getting-to-know-dr-juan-chief-medical-correspondent-for-uci/.
- Wasik, Bill. (2013, December). “Why Wearable Tech Will Be as Big as the Smartphone.” Wired. http://www.wired.com/2013/12/wearable-computers/all/.