New York, Oct 24 (IANS): The Covid-19 era is driving people to adapt to more home-based digital modalities of care, including healthcare, social activities, mental health support and fitness, according to a report.
Prior to Covid-19, there was already a movement towards home-based digital support of health and wellness of expanding ageing populations due to decreasing medical resources to support the growth in elderly patients, advancements in machine learning to interpret raw sensor data, and advancement in biometric and environmental sensors.
The new report from the US-based market research firm Strategy Analytics revealed that the Covid era jump-started progress. As a result, traditional modes of healthcare changed, digital solutions were fast-tracked through regulatory processes, and insurances now reimbursed for remote care and virtual visits.
"We know that people want to take control of their health and prioritise health indicators in their wearables. Covid jump-started remote healthcare and people had to take control by becoming more accustomed to digital modalities of care," the firm's User eXperience Innovation Practice (UXIP) Director Lisa Cooper said.
"Government agencies also fast-tracked approvals for more consumer wearables as medical devices so the infrastructure is developing to enable the support and promotion of remote monitoring," she added.
Further, the availability of smartwatches, which pack in health and wellness functionalities, is growing. These smartwatches are also starting to combine sensors that measure multiple biometrics of health, including blood pressure, heart rate, electrical heart ECG, bioelectrical impedance BIA, skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, body fat, body water, sleeping, snoring, among others.
But the need is to think beyond the wrist and innovate by exploring how to monitor multiple biomarkers with one easy-to-use passive sensor such as a skin patch -- something small and unobtrusive, Cooper said.
"Developers need to think big and partner with academia and healthcare institutions to create easy-to-use passive wearables," UXIP Vice President Kevin Nolan added.
"People want to feel empowered in their own health and partner with healthcare practitioners. In turn, healthcare practitioners have been open to digital solutions but need relevant timely data and not inaccurate sensory output."