Thought Leadership

Beyond Wearables


Health data not only keeps you fit, it’s saving lives
Fitness enthusiasts nowadays have plenty of options to monitor their body. Heart rates, the number of steps taken a day, and even how deep one breathes can be tracked by something as small as a ring. While the adoption of wearable devices has been gaining traction, the real boom is said to come later this decade. When that happens, wearables are expected to be so ingrained in our lives that the amount of data accumulated would reach stratospheric levels. With massive amounts of body-related data collected from all levels of society, the industry would evolve from being end-user centric towards becoming more of a tool for public health.
Rise of the machines
According to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the worldwide wearable device market will reach 111 million units in 2016. This marks a growth of 44% from 80 million units in 2015. The report, called the Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, expects that by 2019, total shipments will reach 214 million units. It is clear the growth enjoyed by wearables is set to increase tremendously, resulting in more players joining the industry. Already cornering the market are brands such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Jawbone, and Garmin.
The industry is experiencing rapid growth with new entrants seeking to improve on their more established counterparts. Sports clothing company Under Armour’s UA HealthBox, for example, tracks data on sleep and daily physical activity, monitors heart rate and measures weight and body fat percentage. Tempdrop is looking to ship its first batch of body temperature trackers this year too. Measuring a user’s basal body temperature, or the lowest temperature a body reaches during sleep, has been found useful for women trying to conceive or people with thyroid disease. The Wearables for Good challenge run by Unicef, recently awarded its top design prize to Khushi Baby a data-storing necklace that provides a two-year personal immunization record for children. The necklace enables access to digital medical records, even in the most remote and isolated areas. Data is synced to the cloud and
accessible to health officials.
Analyze and act
Deriving actionable insights from data is the goal for most companies when undertaking Big Data Analytics. Healthcare providers are no exception. With mass-storing of patient, diagnosis, and prescription data taking place, the idea is to make the most out of information that is just lying around. With the explosion of healthcare data in the coming years, there have been several noteworthy cases where healthcare providers have begun to utilize data to better serve their community. Leveraging Big Data to revolutionize healthcare, a prominent medical center in Asia
Pacific is using analytics powered by Fusionex to help doctors determine a patient’s health more accurately. Every scan done during routine checkups will be channeled to a central data warehouse where doctors can easily pull up a patient’s medical records. Jacob Isaac, Fusionex Product & Solutions Development Vice President, explained many
hospitals do not keep exhaustive patient records, or if they do, doctors do not refer the old records. “The challenge we are facing is that today, doctors will provide you with prescriptions solely based only on your health that particular day, and that in itself may not be a holistic analysis on one’s ailment or health,” said Jacob. Having the ability to look at the progression of a patient’s vitals from months or years ago will empower doctors with more insight to make more effective medical decisions. While a patient may be determined, on a particular day, to be at a great 80% of peak physical health, an entirely different result may be uncovered when progressive data is harnessed and analyzed. “A doctor may decide 80% is good but if he found the patient has been regressing from 90% to 85% to 80%, he may take more steps to find out what’s wrong and recommend specific treatments to address this,” said Jacob. Via technology harnessed from the Internet of Things (IoT), data also helps medical centers optimize their services by detecting machine failure ahead of time. First, data is retrieved from sensors in machines; subsequently, using an Analytics platform like that powered by Fusionex, accurate predictions can then be made as to when components need to be replaced before actual breakdown. “Hospitals tend to be low on equipment. Sometimes machines are down and patients have to come back the next day. Sometimes out of three machines, only one is working, causing a long queue and waiting period. Predicting and proactively maintaining machines using data analytics helps solve all of these problems,” Jacob added.
Adopting the established mantra that prevention is better than cure, healthcare professionals could, with the aid of data analytics, make more insightful life-changing decisions which affect a great number of people. From stats-crunching to sorting information into visualizations and intuitively detecting trends in data, a user-friendly analytics platform reduces the steps between data and action. While those in the medical fraternity may not know how to conduct analytics, advanced analytics platforms like Fusionex Insight (GIANT) are now available to easily minimize the guesswork in their tasks, and get the most out of data at their disposal.

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