New medical device technology – wearables that change lives

Published Monday 18th February, 2019

The growth of smart tech has given us some fantastic consumer wearables, but there'’'s plenty of new medical device technology around that’s getting us pretty excited this year.

We're seeing devices coming to market that can improve the quality of life for their users and in some cases, even be life-saving. Let’s take a look...

Wearable medical devices that can help to diagnose

Many health conditions are frustratingly difficult to diagnose and require lots of quality data to help health professionals build up a solid picture and effectively prescribe either medication or treatment. New medical device technology that a patient can wear unobtrusively can provide key information for conditions like asthma, breast cancer and even potentially diagnose Parkinson's Disease.

Of course, self-diagnosis is frowned upon - especially for serious life-changing diseases like Parkinson's - and regulatory bodies will set limits on what these devices are allowed to offer or claim, but the potential is still remarkable, as we'll see...

iTBra - every woman knows the importance of regularly testing her breasts for lumps and following up any potential issues with mammograms, but the World Cancer Research Fund still reports that there were 2 million new cases worldwide in 2018. The iTBra acts as a screening device, and developers Cyrcadia Health hope that its non-invasive breast patch wearable will help with early detection and improve those figures. The patches monitor circadian metabolic changes in heat, which is linked to the kind of cellular activity acceleration common in breast cancers, and sends the info directly to a smart device or PC where it can be shared with medical professionals.

KardiaMobile - Fitbits and other consumer fitness wearables have been providing heart rate monitoring (with differing degrees of accuracy) for a number of years, so it’s no surprise that we’re beginning to see other devices coming onto the market to help monitor heart conditions. KardiaMobile (and its sister product for Apple Watch, KardiaBand) is a pocketable smart device for monitoring atrial fibrillation – a heart condition that manifests as an irregular heartbeat, and can increase the risk of heart failure or a stroke. It’s almost small enough to slip into a wallet or purse and can provide medical-grade EKG readings in 30 seconds that you can share instantly via your smartphone with your medical professional.

Guardian Angel - another monitoring device that’s got our attention is the Guardian Angel from Aulisa Medical, which provides continuous monitoring of SpO2 and heart rate in both adult and pediatric patients. It comes with two soft finger sensors that fit adults or children, provides 22 hour continuous monitoring on a single charge, and raises an alarm if pulse or blood oxygen saturation falls outside of safe levels.

It's still early days for these impressive examples of new medical device technology, but they’re already opening up opportunities for fundamentally changing how we treat and manage some life-changing conditions.

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