Smartwatches these days are no longer an extension of smartphones. In the last decade, we have witnessed their evolution from a fancy wearable popular only among tech buffs to a mainstream consumer tech increasingly becoming ubiquitous.
Many of the watches these days can make calls and stream music even when they are not connected to smartphones. They can run your favorite voice assistant to control IoT devices or display maps to help you with turn-by-turn navigation. Moreover, these gadgets with Ai are helping people during Covid-19.
However, the reason for their popularity has little to do with the imitation of smartphone features. Instead, their prowess in health and fitness tracking as a non-intrusive device has shot them to prominence. From the basic activity tracking, smartwatches have now morphed into full-fledged health devices.
You can now track your heart rate, sleep, stress, and even ECG right from the comfort of your wrist and share the data with your physician. The technology allows people to take preventive measures long before the problem becomes serious.
However, no manufacturer including the tech giant Apple has so far claimed its devices to be a replacement of medical-grade equipment. But given the speed of innovation, it is only a matter of time.
Let’s find out how far smartwatches have come as a daily health and fitness tracker.
What Can Smartwatches Do?
The latest Apple Watch Series 7 can do basic fitness tracking like monitoring distance traveled, calories burned, and steps. But that isn’t the end of it. The watch can also calculate blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level, take an electrocardiogram (ECG), and monitor heart rate and sugar level continuously.
Other vendors like Fitbit, Samsung, and Garmin can go a little deeper into the health data. For instance, Fitbit’s sleep tracking is unparallel as its premium devices divide the overall sleep data into different stages (REM, Awake Time, Light, and Deep Sleep).
While most of the health tracking features overlap in smartwatches, there are exceptions like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 that can track body composition. The Apple Watch has a fall detection sensor for the elderly to notify emergency services if there is no movement from the injured one minute after the fall.
Though premium watches offer better accuracy, you don’t have to spend a fortune on health tracking these days. Chinese wearable tech companies like Amazfit and Mobvoi offer passable health and fitness tracking at competitive prices.
To some extent, all smartwatches are a little off in health tracking, and the wrist-based sensor is to blame for it. However, some companies have found a way to improve the accuracy but you have to invest in external gear. With connectivity options like Bluetooth and ANT+, you can connect external sensors to improve data accuracy.
Other connectivity options like Wi-Fi and LTE allow you to sync your real-time fitness data with a community on Strava, Endomundo, Google Fit, Runtastic, or Gymaholic. Also, you can export your health stats in PDF format and send them directly to your doctor for assessment.
Smartwatch Applications in Health Care:
Smartwatches are revolutionizing the monitoring of patients’ health. For instance, doctors can now keep close tabs on patients health who have suffered from a serious condition in the past. There are countless cases where early reporting of irregular heart data has helped doctors to intervene in time to save the life of the patient.
In addition to this, health care professionals can now devise specific care plans for patients, thanks to the vast data they get from the smartwatches. No more they have to rely on the patient’s (often incorrect) information to find how they are feeling and how active they are. Apart from the regular checkup, doctors are now spotting trends in health data to find how well their treatment is working out for the patients.
It’s critical to follow the doctor’s instructions when taking medications for chronic illnesses that require regular dosages, or anyone who is presently on a regimen. While patients try their best to keep to their medication schedule, it’s easy to miss a dose. Smartwatches have been making it easier for patients to follow a strict regimen with plenty of reminder apps.
Also, the preventive care made possible by the smartwatches is reducing the health care costs as people are well informed of any upcoming health hazards. Discovering the illness in its preliminary stage by spotting health trends, people can now prevent disastrous situations.
Smartwatches have been disrupting the health care industry for a while now. From doctors being able to monitor their patients’ heart rate and other vital signs remotely, smartwatch technology has advanced significantly in recent years. In this post, we have discussed the capabilities of modern smartwatches and how they are revolutionizing health care.