How Wearable Technology Is Transforming Healthcare


This year’s Internet Trends report highlighted healthcare technology for the first time. Analyst Mary Meeker noted the impact that cloud computing has had on the market, crediting the cloud with the recent surge in wearables and apps. Meeker also noted that this trend is changing healthcare research and patient data accessibility, specifically with wearable technology.

Here are some highlights from the report.

  • Doctors now regularly monitor digital patient data remotely.
  • Wearable technology has made ECGs and blood pressure tests portable.
  • Lab tests are more accessible.
  • An accumulation of data has doubled healthcare knowledge every 3.5 years, up from every 50 years since 1950.
  • Google, Microsoft and Samsung lead the healthcare technology pack.
  • Fitness apps and devices corner the market at 36%.
  • Disease and treatment apps hold 24% of the market.
  • Hospitals now widely give patients access to digital data.
  • 25% of Americans now own wearable health devices.
  • 1.2 billion health apps were downloaded in 2016.

Key Data Takeaways

Healthcare technology might be more than a trend – it might be the future of medical research. The report noted how data gathered is accelerating clinical trials. Trials that might have taken years to gain government approval are now being backed by hard data. That data could also be used to help researchers narrow fields of study.

The downside to health technology is sharing data. While (out of those polled) 60% of Americans would share personal health data with Google, only 39% of those polled would trust Amazon with this information. Even less (37%) would trust IBM. Regardless, Americans are sharing more healthcare data with big companies than ever before, the report notes.

Clouds Making It Rain

Meeker highlighted the importance that cloud data storage has made to the healthcare industry. An increase in cloud computing has made healthcare technology possible. This also means, and is clearly indicated by the number of people reluctant to trust major companies,  that healthcare tech has to get it right.

Not only is the healthcare industry stringently regulated, data obtained by healthcare companies has to be secure. Trust is at the forefront of user minds when sharing health data. Companies that violate that trust or defy regulations are swiftly shut down.

So while Meeker’s report sheds light on the importance of the emerging healthcare technology field, security and trust are two big hurdles healthcare companies have to overcome. Still, the spotlight on healthcare technology means that Americans are interested in improving their overall health, and that the data shared is a great benefit to the medical community.


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