Wearable health monitoring devices could become healthcare IT growth area

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Healthcare IT experts are becoming increasingly focused on telehealth technology to provide patients with more accurate care tailored to their individual needs. According to Information Week, development of long-distance wireless technology could further drive interest in these devices and establish new standards of the reporting of patient medical conditions.

However, for the time being, interest in wearable health monitoring devices is largely limited to the consumer market. There are currently several devices aimed at both amateur and professional athletes that make use of telehealth technology, and some experts believe that it will take some time before mobile patient health monitoring becomes standard in clinical practice.

Despite the relatively slow growth in the clinical telehealth market, Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at London-based ABI Research, told the news source that the largely automated reporting functionality of wearable health monitoring devices could be useful for maintaining up-to-date clinical information of patients with chronic illnesses.

“The data can be collected in a way that’s simple and easy for the patient and for healthcare providers,” said Collins, as quoted by the news source. He added that Bluetooth “is a standard platform that device manufacturers and app developers can use.”

Gary Capistrant, the American Telemedicine Association’s senior director of public policy, told the news source that telemedicine is one area of healthcare IT unlikely to be affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms. This could result in potentially increased investment in the sector, depending on the Supreme Court’s decision.

In addition to increased convenience for patients who struggle to attend a physician’s office, telemedicine could also lower costs for medical practices. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Paula Guy, chief executive officer of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, believes that wearable monitoring devices used alongside video conferencing technology could substantially reduce the need for physicians to make house calls.