Wearables and Biometrics in Healthcare

Bioinformatics and ROS for Robot Arm Specialization Courses
| Phi Science
Tasnim Nour
Tasnim Nour
June 28, 2022

Wearing wearables!

Technological devices are becoming more abundant in people’s lives for many reasons, from personal, learning, and business-related reasons. These technological devices have now been involved in healthcare, such as wearables devices.

A wearable is a device that can be either worn on the human body or clothing[2], this device will be able to record patient’s health and fitness data, such as the heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and more. Thus it is not only about these biometrics, a wearable device has evolved to do blood analysis, and heart monitoring.[1]

The increasing need for developing wearables arise from the fact that a large number of deaths occur due to a chronic disease, which needs continuous monitoring, to better manage the patient health.

In this case wearables will provide this continuous and real time monitoring, as a result, reporting human body changes will help to understand it, and so preventing the diseases, not only treating them.[2]

Inside a Wearable

A wearable device consists of:

  • Target receptor, this receptor will recognise the target analyte and respond to it.
  • Transducer, which will convert the receptor’s response into a signal.[2]

Example on Healthcare Wearables

From a smart watch and other known wearables, we can also classify healthcare wearable devices to:

  • Skin based, such as textile-based wearables, and tattoo-based wearables.
  • Bio-fluidic based, such as sweat based wearables, and tear-based wearables.
  • Wearable drug delivery system, such as smart bandages, touch acuated transdermal deliver (TATD), smart rings and others.[2]

Wearables in Clinical Trials

Wearables outcomes now are portable and more accessible, in the form of digital biomarkers, revolutionizing digital health wearables.

This holds a promising future for the way data is collected and monitored in clinical trials, although some variables are presented in using the wearables biometrics in clinical trials:

  • Personal variations, from different responses to the products, as many wearables have direct contact with the skin that might oppose certain variations.
  • Different data collection timeframes, affecting the results.
  • Depending on the data required for the clinical trial, then a wearable can be chosen, as different wearables produce different biometrics.
  • Clinical trials data collection that can last for months or years.[4]

Beyond Digital Biomarkers

Digital biomarkers are the quantifiable measures, produced digitally from wearable devices, obviously, the main purpose of them is to monitor health with time by both physicians and patients or users themselves.

Thus, a greater value is presented, through these digital biomarkers, in assessing patient motivation and compliance to the given therapy protocol, which will lead to evaluating the quality of life scores, which is a very important parameter in many research applications, as pharmacoeconomics research.[4]

Challenges to Overcome

  • Wearables use in clinical trials is faced with either participants not having access to the technology, or feeling embarrassed to be labelled to a certain condition.[4]
  • Keeping a low cost but high quality healthcare while using wearables that require more than one solution, due to patients and providers variabilities.[3]
  • As these devices are subjected to updates and being renewed, the challenging part is storing the data collected to be able to use it later for multiple purposes.[1]

There is more about wearables!

What we discussed was in the scope of wearables in healthcare, but there is a broader use of wearables in businesses as automobile industry and other disciplines. In addition to virtual reality (VR) technologies that is becoming more involved in healthcare too.

The journey will not stop merely on collecting data (biometrics) because this is not enough, these data should be linked to larger data sets, then they serve as a solution for healthcare challenges. Thus, biometrics are slowly becoming more integrated in all life aspects.[1]

To conclude, healthcare is an always evolving system, and its future highly depends on our actions and our health choices, with many things to account for, from accessibility, affordability, and personalization, what must be constant is the high quality patient care along with patient safety.[3]

Tasnim Nour

A pharmacist and a master student in Pharmacology and drug discovery at Coventry University in the UK.

Wearables and Biometrics in Healthcare

My story with Phi
Bioinformatics and ROS for Robot Arm Specialization Courses
| Phi Science
Tasnim Nour
June 28, 2022

Wearing wearables!

Technological devices are becoming more abundant in people’s lives for many reasons, from personal, learning, and business-related reasons. These technological devices have now been involved in healthcare, such as wearables devices.

A wearable is a device that can be either worn on the human body or clothing[2], this device will be able to record patient’s health and fitness data, such as the heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and more. Thus it is not only about these biometrics, a wearable device has evolved to do blood analysis, and heart monitoring.[1]

The increasing need for developing wearables arise from the fact that a large number of deaths occur due to a chronic disease, which needs continuous monitoring, to better manage the patient health.

In this case wearables will provide this continuous and real time monitoring, as a result, reporting human body changes will help to understand it, and so preventing the diseases, not only treating them.[2]

Inside a Wearable

A wearable device consists of:

  • Target receptor, this receptor will recognise the target analyte and respond to it.
  • Transducer, which will convert the receptor’s response into a signal.[2]

Example on Healthcare Wearables

From a smart watch and other known wearables, we can also classify healthcare wearable devices to:

  • Skin based, such as textile-based wearables, and tattoo-based wearables.
  • Bio-fluidic based, such as sweat based wearables, and tear-based wearables.
  • Wearable drug delivery system, such as smart bandages, touch acuated transdermal deliver (TATD), smart rings and others.[2]

Wearables in Clinical Trials

Wearables outcomes now are portable and more accessible, in the form of digital biomarkers, revolutionizing digital health wearables.

This holds a promising future for the way data is collected and monitored in clinical trials, although some variables are presented in using the wearables biometrics in clinical trials:

  • Personal variations, from different responses to the products, as many wearables have direct contact with the skin that might oppose certain variations.
  • Different data collection timeframes, affecting the results.
  • Depending on the data required for the clinical trial, then a wearable can be chosen, as different wearables produce different biometrics.
  • Clinical trials data collection that can last for months or years.[4]

Beyond Digital Biomarkers

Digital biomarkers are the quantifiable measures, produced digitally from wearable devices, obviously, the main purpose of them is to monitor health with time by both physicians and patients or users themselves.

Thus, a greater value is presented, through these digital biomarkers, in assessing patient motivation and compliance to the given therapy protocol, which will lead to evaluating the quality of life scores, which is a very important parameter in many research applications, as pharmacoeconomics research.[4]

Challenges to Overcome

  • Wearables use in clinical trials is faced with either participants not having access to the technology, or feeling embarrassed to be labelled to a certain condition.[4]
  • Keeping a low cost but high quality healthcare while using wearables that require more than one solution, due to patients and providers variabilities.[3]
  • As these devices are subjected to updates and being renewed, the challenging part is storing the data collected to be able to use it later for multiple purposes.[1]

There is more about wearables!

What we discussed was in the scope of wearables in healthcare, but there is a broader use of wearables in businesses as automobile industry and other disciplines. In addition to virtual reality (VR) technologies that is becoming more involved in healthcare too.

The journey will not stop merely on collecting data (biometrics) because this is not enough, these data should be linked to larger data sets, then they serve as a solution for healthcare challenges. Thus, biometrics are slowly becoming more integrated in all life aspects.[1]

To conclude, healthcare is an always evolving system, and its future highly depends on our actions and our health choices, with many things to account for, from accessibility, affordability, and personalization, what must be constant is the high quality patient care along with patient safety.[3]

Bana-img

Tasnim Nour

A pharmacist and a master student in Pharmacology and drug discovery at Coventry University in the UK.