How Wrist-based Heart Rate Monitors Could Save Your Life

First Posted: Mar 25, 2019 09:30 PM EDT

The world of digital monitoring of health conditions has been steadily growing over the last decade. With the creation of smaller and more accurate monitoring and recording devices, patients have been able to take the monitoring of their health into their own hands. According to the IEEE, approximately nine-eight thousand (98,000) people die annually from hospital errors. By allowing patients control over their own monitoring, it suggests that clinicians can be better served in diagnosing problems and there would be fewer fatalities because of this. A wrist-based heart rate monitor could be one of the most important tools that a modern human being can access because of how much this simply monitor can tell about a person's internal workings.

The Frontier of Wearable Tech

The current group of wearable technology is not the first iteration. In fact, we've already managed to get three or four revisions of tech along the line already. There aren't a whole lot of people using wearable health monitoring tech, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers recent study,. Based on what we understand about the technology and how it can affect the lives of the average person, it may be the first step in a whole new paradigm for the world of medicine. Wearable tech follows logically from the already existing (and widely adopted) fitness trackers that can be easily and quickly linked to smartphones for the health enthusiasts among us to closely monitor everything from their heart rate to their diet and exercise routines. It's not that large of a stretch for us to start considering the reality of a pocket-based ECG that could potentially allow for early warning of heart problems soon enough for a patient to make it to an emergency room to head off something potentially fatal.

The Brilliance of Having an ECG on our Wrists

Healthline notes that we're likely to see one of the first ever AI-driven heart monitors on the market in 2019 which is a notable step in the direction we want to go. At current though, there are a number of different smart devices that can offer the basic reading of important patient data at one's fingertips. The issue with diagnoses has always been the ability of the patient to correctly describe what they feel to the doctor or clinician, and it's more often than not this communication disconnect that leads to mis-diagnose and, ultimately, the invocation of a a wrongful death statute. Because of the human body's propensity to send false signals and act certain ways based on specific stimuli, it can be like locating the proverbial needle in the haystack when it comes to diagnosis. With the help of wearable technology, however, it's a good likelihood that the clinician can quickly and painlessly check the monitored data and make a diagnosis based on this information.

The Future of Healthcare

While we are years off from having a smart wearable telling us that our brain chemistry is off and how to fix it, we are well on our way in developing devices for the tracking of potentially problematic health issues. With the massive amount of data coming in from smart devices, it would be insane to think that a human doctor could even consider going through all of this to find where problems exist. Luckily, thanks to advances in Big Data and artificial intelligence, there is hope yet for monitoring and flagging trouble before it happens. Johnson & Johnson have announced a partnership with Apple in a bold attempt to improve monitoring of atrial fibrillation showing that there is interest in developing this technology further and making it even more useful for the average human being. It has never before been this easy to be personally responsible for our own health.

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