Wearable devices such as smartwatches, activity trackers and other biometric sensors have become exceptionally popular recently. These devices are small enough to wear and include powerful sensor technologies that can collect and analyze data about users’ health and exercise activity.
The society that is keen on the idea of a healthy lifestyle and keeping fit gladly tracks the periodicity of physical activities, heart rate, blood pressure, sleeping habits and body temperature.
The number of fitness apps’ downloads and wearables’ sales keep on growing so it seems logical to employ this technology to promote health and wellness in patient populations and to simplify the physicians’ everyday routine. Organizations that provide healthcare services are becoming more and more interested in development of special EMR and EHR Software. Such platforms streamline scheduling, staffing, reporting, analytics and other features important to keep healthcare institutions working in a well-orchestrated and therefore efficient manner.
While EMR systems help to maintain the data on patients’ symptoms, prescriptions and visit history, the EHR Software are aimed at sharing medical information with patients. And this is where the trends of using wearables and digitalization of healthcare system meet face to face.
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So what is the connection between your wrist-worn smartwatch and your family doctor who stays miles away? It’s simpler than it seems.
The most popular wearables are those which help tracking our daily activities. If a patient has a clear healthy physical activity goal – what can be easier than using a wearable to track it? The data received from an activity tracker are sent to the doctor by integration with the EHR Software – and that’s it. No need for appointments, such a solution is time and money saving. Patients with chronic problems know well how tedious it is to stay under the constant doctor’s supervision.
New technologies bring new solutions: wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure monitors are already available on the market, various biosensors that keep data on heart and respiratory rates may set a patient free from visits to the clinic. At the same time the doctors go on keeping such patients under control by monitoring the data received from their wearables in EMR system. And let’s not forget that the data received from wearable devices are more accurate than those received during the manual controls because the so-called “human factor” is excluded.
As every new beginning the idea of integration of wearables into EMR and EHR Software has its supporters and its skeptics. Among the most obvious challenges of such integration are those of cost, insecurity of personal data, reliability and validity.
While simple activity trackers have already become affordable to everybody, more sophisticated devices, such as wearable blood pressure monitors remain expensive because of high levels of technology required to make them work. Patients suffering from chronic diseases are submitted to wearing the monitors every day which means that the devices will require professional maintenance, which in turn may cost a lot. Collecting data in the EMR system of the healthcare organization means the necessity of powerful servers and backup systems, large amounts of internet traffic which is also expensive.
The issue of privacy and security of personal data is one of the greatest concerns nowadays. Unfortunately, breaches of protected health information happen frequently. The users of wearable devices are afraid that in case of integration with EMR system their personal data, such as age, sex, e-mail address and even social media profiles may be revealed to a third party for commercial gain. Moreover, wearables may be easily hacked if left unattended. In case the device hacked is integrated into the EMR or EHR Software of the healthcare organization this may lead to the breach of the whole system which is complicated to fix.
Physicians often doubt if they can fully rely on the data received from the wearables. Having in mind the fact that wearable devices from different manufacturers may vary in terms of accuracy, do the doctors have the right to make conclusions based on these data?
Furthermore, the fact that each individual has its own norms of body temperature or blood pressure is not a secret. Will the EMR system be able to analyze the data received from wearables for every patient taking into consideration the peculiar features of this or that individual? Will it be possible to distinguish the normal rates for one patient and life-threatening ones for another? Physicians do have their concerns regarding the use of data received from wearables and it is necessary to admit that those are reasonable doubts.
Health is the indisputable value for each individual. We do our best to live longer and healthier lives and we are eager to make every effort to add maximum comfort to our everyday activities. That is why, despite all the doubts, we are ready to give chance to the technologies even in such a bothering area as healthcare.
To help us with that, software development companies help medical organizations to streamline their operations. They deliver advanced solutions for physicians, hospitals and patients, providing comprehensive EMR/EHR Software accessible from both web and mobile devices. Development of the easily customizable and extensible EMR and EHR systems help the organizations providing healthcare services to reduce their operational costs and achieve maximum productivity through better communication. The software products in healthcare are reliable in terms of data management which makes the idea of wearables’ integration into EMR and EHR Software visible and meaningful.
The future of healthcare services is in elimination of paperwork and in making the cooperation between physicians and patients easier. It’s time to move. Move from wearables to EMR and from tortuous doubts to smart decisions.
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