One of the first notable owners of wearable technology was Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples. In the early 1800s, designer Abraham-Louis Breguet created the first wristwatch for the queen. Though it was limited in functionality, it paved the way for what was to come—a new age of technology: wearable medical devices.
From wearable medical heart monitors to clothing with sensors that read your vital signs, the future of healthcare is already at your fingertips. Whether you’re managing a chronic condition or want to live a healthier lifestyle, wearable medical devices empower you to take control of your health and well-being. You can communicate remotely with healthcare professionals, monitor a specific condition, and track your physical activity from the comfort of your home.
Popular wearable medical devices
Hundreds of medical wearables are now available, from smart watches and rings to specialized medical monitoring devices. All include biosensors, and most connect to a smart device or computer via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Devices specifically designed for medical purposes are part of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). IoMT devices include those connected for wellness, monitoring, and other clinical applications. Consumer versions of wearables effectively monitor heart rate, cardiac function, blood oxygen levels, sleep quality, stress and anxiety, and activity levels.
The Fitbit, launched in 2007, signaled the start of wearable medical technology. It inspired the creation of a new category of devices that now includes the market-dominating Apple Watch. Popular wearable medical devices and classifications include:
- Smart watches and activity trackers – Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch, Fitbit, Withings, Garmin, and luxury options for TAG Heuer and Montblanc
- Smart rings – Oura and Circular Ring
- Smart clothing – Nadi X yoga pants, Sensoria fitness socks
Privacy and security concerns
According to a 2022 study conducted by Deloitte, about half of people who wear smartwatches are concerned about data security and location tracking. Data breaches are rising as the growth of connected devices provides new entry points for hackers to access networks and personal information. Manufacturers are responding by providing greater transparency into what data gets collected, how it gets used, and what measures are in place to protect it.
Because medical wearables collect and store personal information on the cloud, privacy concerns are prevalent. Users of these devices worry about third parties selling their data or using it to track or monitor their health.
There are ways to protect your personal information if you use a wearable medical device:
- Use strong passwords for all health-related apps and devices and enable 2-factor authentication.
- Ensure all software is current and install security updates when available to your wearables and connected smart devices.
- Disable location services or manually control when and why you enable them.
One of the most significant benefits of wearable medical devices is that people who use them are more engaged in their health. The general assumption is that data from these devices is accurate and on par with clinical readings performed in a medical facility. While this assumption isn’t entirely true, research shows that wearable tech delivers consistent and reliable information. A 2022 study featured in the medical journal Digital Health indicates that heart rate readings on the Apple Watch and Garmin Forerunner 945 differ from EKG readings by about 1 percent. An earlier study conducted at Duke University reports similar results.
Wearables and your internet connection
Much of the communication between wearable medical technology and smartphones or computers occurs via Bluetooth. When you’re out walking, your smartphone syncs data to the cloud via your cellular network. Then, when you return home, your WiFi connection takes over.
Your wearables may rely on your internet connection when you’re at home, but monitoring your devices doesn’t use significant internet bandwidth, so they won’t impact the performance of your data network. Reliable fiber internet allows you to monitor your health remotely without lags or interruptions. Quantum Fiber offers 99.9% reliability based on network uptime or availability, so your connection is consistent and stable. And with speeds up to 940 Mbps and no data caps or annual contracts, you get the ultra-fast connections and flexibility you want.
The Quantum Fiber 360 WiFi mesh network supplies everything needed to blanket your entire home or office with seamless coverage. Use our smartphone app to control your network settings. Its easy-to-use security features allow you to manage who can access the network and let you turn off WiFi to specific devices to keep your personal information safe. Now, you can move freely about your space without worrying about interruptions or dead spots. When monitoring your health through a wearable medical device, your internet connection is something you can’t afford to lose.
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