Wearable health gear could become life-saving technology

Fitness trackers soon to be able to monitor blood oxygen levels, glucose, concussion and Alzheimer's

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Athlete and technologist Jana Eggers 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."

And that's exactly what's happening.

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There's tons of tech in development designed to track what's going on inside your body.

"It's moving beyond fitness trackers and health trackers to really becoming medical devices integrated into aspects of our daily lives," said Unity Stoakes, StartUp Health co-founder and president.

The devices will be designed to monitor things like:

  • blood oxygen levels
  • glucose levels through a smart contact lens
  • concussions
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • walking and balance disorders
  • depression.

 

"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.

"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. Michael Munger with the American Academy of Family Physicians who points out a device 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," said Munger.

And there's the issue of keeping all of that sensitive medical data secure.

"There's 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," said Stoakes.

Munger says this type of technology could help empower patients to pay more attention to their health, and allow them to stay involved in their treatment. And, he says it's important for physicians to stay on top of the technology in order to help guide patients to the most accurate, consistent, and secure devices.

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