In a perfect world, healthcare would be a much more convenient, much more effective process not only for the care provider, but for the patient themselves. Innovations such as medical grade all in one computers have surely made physicians’ jobs a little more convenient. However, while the benefits these devices provide shouldn’t be overlooked, the process of seeking care and getting in contact with a provider in the first place can still be immensely prohibitive to seeking care at all for patients.

Convenience has become such a selling point as we transition to Healthcare Consumerism, that it even takes priority over effective care for many. In fact, according to an NRC survey, 80% of respondents who reported they were satisfied with their level of care also reported they would switch providers based on convenience levels alone.

This push for convenience has resulted in much of the healthcare industry’s newest tech innovations revolving around things like telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital scheduling, and more that make intake, processing, payment, and more much simpler for patients. It’s with this push in mind that healthcare wearables have started to gain quite the fair amount of attention in the healthcare sector for their ability to gather patient data and easily share said data with providers remotely. But how much of this newly ignited hype for wearable tech is founded and how much of it is just that, hype? 

The Future of Healthcare Wearables

Of course, integrating healthcare wearables into patient care isn’t as easy as slapping on a fitbit and calling it a day although companies like Fitbit are indeed attempting to provide their own solutions for the healthcare space. Interestingly enough, many companies in addition to Fitbit with skin in the wearables game have begun to realize the potential their products have in providing care and improving both patient and physician experience. Amazon’s new “Halo” product is a harbinger of this chance in the industry’s perception of wearables. 

Amazon’s Halo is a wearable capable of tracking activity, body fat, heart rate and even emotions based on voice recordings. What makes this piece of healthcare wearables tech different from others, however, is its integration with Cerner EHRs. Amazon’s Halo can take all of the information it gathers from its wearers and share it directly with care providers that use Cerner EHR solutions. This, theoretically, makes sharing data much easier, makes the data shared that much more accurate, and saves both physicians and patients time and stress that would have been spent tracking and recording this data. on their medical-grade computers 

And while this solution from Amazon is receiving mixed reviews, it gives us a glimpse into what future healthcare wearable solutions can look like. 

Present Applications of Healthcare Wearables

Providing some real life application, Stanford Medicine recently employed healthcare wearables in a study that went far to show the sector just how transformative the new tech can be if integrations can be truly ironed out. 

In their study, the team partnered with Scripps Research and Fitbit in an attempt to use wearables and the substantial amounts of data gathered by them to predict viral infections before they occur. Using these wearables in conjunction with algorithms that could detect viral infections based on changes in heart rate, the team hopes to create an easy to use solution that would provide both physician convenience and improvising patient care and outcomes. 

This kind of use case is something we could begin to see more of, and on a larger scale, if healthcare wearables such as Amazon’s with their Cerner integration can actually stand the test of time. Unfortunately, there are still some gaps in what wearables offer and what patients and physicians need that need to be ironed out before we can see true implementation.

What’s Needed From Healthcare Wearables?

So, all that said, where does that leave those looking to develop these wearables or medical device manufacturers looking to implement them into their latest products? What needs of patients and providers have and have yet to be met by these healthcare wearables? 


First and foremost, it’s very likely solutions like Amazon’s aren’t going to be very effective so long as they are being pigeon-holed into Cerner EHRs exclusively. We’ve observed time and time again just how much of a headache any piece of medical hardware can be if it isn’t capable of playing nicely with multiple, disparate EHR programs. Even today, it remains one of the most prominent reasons for healthcare burnout. 

Not only does this lack of interoperability make it difficult to share data between devices, collaboration between different facilities, unless they share the exact same EHR provider and program, will be notably stunted. 

It’s likely any healthcare wearable solutions with legs will need to have integration capabilities with several, if not all, EHR programs and providers to make a real change.   

What Patients Need

One of the ultimate reasons we want wearables to be adopted in the first place is to enhance patient convenience. Doing so will improve adherence to care instructions, patient loyalty, and health outcomes. It’s only natural that a wearables developer or someone who plans to use one in their medical device deeply understands what these patients want out of their devices.

According to a Forrester Research report, patients are primarily concerned with using wearables to share their sleep and cardiovascular metrics with their doctors. Interestingly enough, both patients with and without chronic conditions reported they were predominantly interested in tracking their fitness-related activity with 58% of those without chronic conditions and 63% of those with chronic conditions stating as such.  

There are several other metrics patients are interested in tracking and reporting based on the study, but, any developer looking to create the next wearable solution will need to keep those that we mentioned top of mind. 

What Providers Need

While data is surely the basis of effective care, many physicians are beginning to express that just data in itself isn’t enough. Dr. Weisman, CMIO of Peninsula Regional Health System, emphasizes this in a recent interview when he explains, “If it’s just a steady stream of raw data that is being thrown at me, then it does more damage than good.”

Even if data is being tossed onto the EHRs being used by doctors, if that data isn’t being synthesized, analyzed, and presented to the physician in a meaningful way, it won’t provide any actionable insight. Worse yet, having to perform that legwork manually will only further inconvenience staff, increasing the likelihood of inconsistently inputted data and effectively eliminating all the supposed benefits of healthcare wearables.

A wearable or device that sets itself apart from the riff raff will need to do more than collect and send data, it’ll need to process that information and populate fields on a physician’s EHR with the proper information. 

What’s Needed From Supplementary Hardware?

 As amazing as these healthcare wearables sound, physicians are expressing the very founded concern that more data will only stand to further increase burnout. Addressing this or getting ahead of this data-overload with proper workstations and hardware can make the switch to wearable-based care, when it’s good and ready, less jarring.

 We’ve discussed in a previous post how simply investing in larger screens to house more data has been proven to help alleviate burnout and improve workflow. Something like a 24 inch medical panel PC or even a 4k medical display that can also provide higher resolutions viewing of charts, graphs, and whatever data that’s being sent in by wearables allow physicians to consume and process that data much more efficiently.

Wearables are Still Making Ripples, Not Waves

It’s apparent that healthcare wearables aren’t quite at the stage where they can start to make real transformations in the healthcare industry just yet. Though that may be the case, recent pushes for patient convenience, remote care, and value-driven wearable applications are showing us there is promise for the future. For more information on how you can prepare for wearable-optimized healthcare when it becomes viable, contact an expert from Cybernet today.