If a doctor has prescribed you medication, whether it be long or short-term, you would be familiar with taking it to a schedule and tracking each of your doses. I am sure you have also forgotten to take a dose a few times – many of us have at one point or another.
For people with chronic health conditions, taking medication on a strict schedule is essential to their treatment. Yet, the struggles with tracking medication adherence make it difficult for many. When healthcare systems already struggle with the costs generated in treating chronic diseases, we need solutions encouraging patients to actively participate in their treatment.
Costs of chronic diseases on the healthcare system
47% of Australians live with one chronic disease. These include back pain, mental health disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. These conditions cost the healthcare sector a significant sum in time and money each year, with diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and stroke costing the healthcare sector up to $6.86 billion yearly.
Chronic diseases often require regular treatment, symptom monitoring and medication. Of course, a doctor can only spend so much time with one patient, so treatment and monitoring often sit in the patient’s hands.
How wearables support activity tracking
Wearable devices have come a long way in the last few years. The first Fitbit, released in 2009, was a clip-on accessory that tracked movement, calories burnt and sleep. Now, we have smartwatches and even the Oura Ring, which allow us to track health patterns and view them on smartphones. We now have devices that measure heart rate, breathing, sleep quality, and daily steps.
Wearables put healthcare knowledge and solutions in people’s hands. Someone who wants to become more active can set a goal for daily steps, monitor their water intake or measure the amount of sleep they get each day. Such basic things encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle.
How activity tracking promotes better health
Activity trackers such as smartwatches and mobile applications encourage people to take an active role in their treatment and overall healthcare journey. A reminder app can alert someone when it is time to take their medication so they adhere to the treatment plan advised by their doctor. It is for this reason that integrated technology solutions are crucial to healthcare.
Furthermore, with AI, the metrics monitored by wearable devices can alert the person to patterns or abnormalities that might be symptoms of chronic diseases. The wearer can seek medical advice and potentially early diagnosis and treatment, mitigating the costs associated with treating chronic diseases. After the patient has engaged with a doctor and started treatment, a wearable device can become a tool for measuring their vitals and delivering metrics to the attending physician. Rather than someone visiting the doctor’s office for checkups, the doctor will receive vital readings from the patient’s activity tracking device.
When people have the tools to take better care of themselves, and have an interest in taking an active role in their healthcare, it reduces the impact of chronic diseases on patients and the healthcare system.
Fluffy Spider are HealthTech experts
We help organisations move toward a future of connected digital healthcare, making existing systems interoperable and modernising infrastructure to unlock the potential of new technologies.
We can help you identify the relevant opportunities to incorporate modern web services and standards for health information exchange, such as FHIR. This enables systems to interoperate with other modern health information exchange technologies from the medical software industry and those already implemented by large healthcare providers such as Government health departments.
Visit our Advisory and Consulting page to learn more about our capabilities and solutions.