There’s no doubt that FItbits have changed the fitness industry by giving athletes a tool to monitor their progress and health. Now that same technology could soon help patients take pharmaceuticals and improve how doctors monitor treatment.
Recently at the AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, Sven Stegemann, director of Pharmaceutical Business Development at Capsugel, gave a presentation on the future of wearable diagnostics.
While no such technology is currently being sold, several models have been in development.
According to Stegemann, several companies, including Capsugel, have been looking at ways to develop wearable patches that would give healthcare providers a different way to understand the outcomes of certain medication regimens. Currently, the efficacy of many treatments is determined by patient feedback. In addition to that feedback, Stegemann described one specific kind of device that is worn like a patch and has sensors to monitor key data about the patient’s health while also capturing information about phenotype. A similar wearable device is already being used in a trials at a hospital, and is one of many devices being tested to track everything from oxygen levels to heart rhythms.
“It’s about getting feedback on the quality of life,” Stegemann said in his lecture.
The rise of wearable diagnostic tools is also in line with a larger pharmaceutical trend towards customized treatments.
Although there are no wearable diagnostic tools for healthcare professionals on the market, Stegemann said he wouldn’t be surprised if they start popping up in just a few years.
As with the rise any new technology, there will be challenges to bringing it to market.
In an interview after the lecture, Stegemann said that getting healthcare professionals to believe in the product and see value in the data it produces is one of the biggest concerns. It will also take time to integrate this in kind of technology into the larger healthcare system including insurance models and doctor practices.
But Stegemann pointed out that just a decade ago, many couldn’t imagine the various uses we’ve found for cell phones. Now the fast pace of innovation is emerging in the world of wearable diagnostics.