Will Wearable Medical Devices Make Health Information Management Easier?
Rapid advancements in technology have made digital wearables like smartwatches possible. As wearable technology becomes more ubiquitous, the demand for these products to have medical monitoring capabilities has also increased. Equipping these devices with remote patient monitoring technology allows people to be more in control of their health.
The benefits of wearables for patients are evident – but what do these devices mean for health information managers? Discover the influence this technology has on health information management from Northwestern College, serving Oak Lawn, IL, and the greater Chicago area.
Wearable Devices Used in Medical Monitoring
From a health information perspective, digital wearables act as a means of remote record-keeping for patients’ daily health habits. They gather data on the users’ exercise and may monitor vital signs, such as a pulse. More advanced options can send information to the physician in real time. The following are some of the most popular devices used in remote patient monitoring:
Smartwatches have come a long way since they first hit the market. Initially, the most they could do for health was keep track of the number of steps a user completed in a day. Now, many new models will track sleeping patterns, assist with heart health monitoring, and may even alert emergency services if the user experiences a dangerous fall.
Fitbit was one of the first brands to become a household name for this wearable technology. Often stylized like wristbands, these devices have sensors that enable them to scan physical activity and make fitness recommendations based on their observations. Many fitness tracking devices also synch to applications on smartphones.
Wearable Blood Pressure Monitors
While these devices look like smartwatches, they are mobile blood pressure devices that track activities related to heart health, such as the number of calories a person burns in a day. OMRON Healthcare was the first to introduce this technology, and their models connect to a smartphone app where users can store and share their data with healthcare providers.
Wearable ECG Monitors
These wearables perform electrocardiograms (ECGs) for patients as they go about their daily routines. Some models also evaluate atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and permit users to send information to their doctors.
An emerging wearable medical monitoring device is the biosensor. These collect data on the user’s heart rate, movement, and body temperature. Some research suggests they can lower the chances a patient will decline into cardiac or respiratory arrest.
The growing number of people who use wearables for medical monitoring puts more pressure on electrical engineers and software developers to create new products. As capabilities in health information technology expand, health information managers can expect more devices to track key wellness indicators for medical staff and help with the following health concerns:
- Cancers and blood disorders
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Infectious diseases and respiratory conditions
- Orthopedic issues
- Nervous system disorders
- Women’s health
- Urologic diseases
How These Devices Affect Health Information Management
A key advantage of wearables is that many allow providers to access patient data in real time. This feature can eliminate the red tape patients sometimes have to go through to send crucial information to their providers. It also may facilitate smoother processes for health information managers, as they seek to connect patients with questions and concerns to the proper providers.
Despite their benefits, remote patient monitoring devices pose a serious security risk. Like other digital applications connected to the internet, wearables are vulnerable to cyberattacks. If cybercriminals get hold of this data, they may spread private health information to parties not entitled to see it. For hospitals and doctors’ offices using these devices, leaked patient data could lead to significant HIPAA violations.
Pursue a Health Information Management Degree at Northwestern College
Digital technologies have impacted virtually every aspect of the medical field, and few people know this as well as those in healthcare positions. If you want to advance your career and explore roles related to health information management, consider the bachelor’s degree program offered at Northwestern College.
Conducted entirely online, this program is intended for professionals who already have an associate degree in health information technology. It prepares students to seek health information management jobs by training them in essential skills, such as patient data, billing, coding, effective communication, and strategic planning. To learn more about becoming a health information manager and our online program, request information from Northwestern College, serving Oak Lawn, IL, and the greater Chicago area.