The Mobile Health Industry is Booming
The use of modern technologies for health-related applications is on the rise. The continued miniaturization of components and reduced manufacturing costs are helping to push mobile health into the mainstream. Indeed, the industry is projected to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years. To learn more about the future of the mobile health industry, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.
The Mobile and Wearable Sensor Industry Projections
The demand for wearable sensors resulted in the sale of 67 million units in 2013. By 2019, the worldwide market is seen to jump nearly seven-fold to 466 million units. Shipments of sensors for smart watches will surge by almost 600% in 2015 on the strength of new products launched by big names in the industry such as Apple and Samsung.
The level of sophistication of wearable devices will also increase as indicated by the number of sensors incorporated in them, from an average of 1.4 sensors per device in 2013 to 4.1 sensors in 2019. As for smartphones, about 200 external sensors can be connected and utilized by a mobile app.
The US market for wireless health monitoring devices is expected to reach $22 billion by 2015. The worldwide revenue for sensors used in mobile handsets, meanwhile, will rise from $2.3 billion in 2012 to $6.5 billion in 2018.
Mobile Health Sensor Abilities
Mobile health sensors come in different varieties with each having its own specific function. They are primarily used to monitor pertinent metrics, thus enabling the user to better manage his or her health. Any danger signs will be seen right away so appropriate action can be taken before things get worse. The metrics include glucose level, medication compliance, heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature. These sensors may be embedded inside the device itself, as in the case of smart watches, or paired with a mobile device through USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Function of Current Mobile Health Sensors
People with asthma may use Propeller Health’s SpiroScout. It’s an inhaler with built-in sensors that monitor the environmental conditions. It alerts the owners about dangers that might be present around them. SpiroScout is able to link up smartphones to inhalers to log the time and place of usage.
Fast and accurate decision-making is crucial in medical emergencies. The iRevive system is designed to be used in these sensitive cases to help emergency responders make the right decisions in a timely manner. Its sensors continually check the patient’s vital signs like blood oxygen level, heart rate, and more.
Glucose monitoring devices, on the other hand, help diabetics keep their vitals under control so that they can go through their days without incident. These continually take blood sugar readings around the clock through a tiny sensor that is embedded in the skin.
The Proteus Ingestible Sensor is a revolutionary technology designed to be swallowed by patients. It is typically placed inside a pill to make this process easier. The sensor then travels down to the stomach where it sends information to a mobile app regarding identity and timing of ingestion.
Benefits of Mobile Health Sensors
Mobile health sensors are mostly focused on monitoring for prevention. This heightened vigilance helps the people and the government to bring down healthcare costs. At the same time, the abundance of available data aid medical professionals in their diagnosis and design of treatment plans. Patients get to enjoy improved treatment results.
The sensors are able to capture patient data in a manner that was previously difficult, if not impossible. Round the clock monitoring and precisely timed checks help provide a complete picture of the situation. There are no missed data points due to forgetfulness or random issues. All of the information is in electronic format making them easy to save and access for future reviews.
Researchers can tap into the data stream generated by these mobile health sensors for advanced studies. The unprecedented level of awareness regarding physical activity, physiological responses, location, and more will allow them to gain deeper insights on how the body works. These tools may be the key to unlocking new and better treatments for a wide range of diseases.
Various companies specializing in medical technologies are developing innovative products and applications. Already in the pipeline are cervical cancer screening and diabetic retinopathy detection systems using mobiles phones. Also in the works are skin patches that measure hydration and sun exposure.
The fitness industry is awaiting the maturity of sensor fusion technology to solve the problem of bulk. This technology is expected to result in a further miniaturization of existing sensors, making them easier to embed in different wearable devices.