Big Data is in high demand in the realm of healthcare. Developers have as many opportunities to create new applications as they can imagine. Disruptive use-cases will continue to emerge that exploit information as the most valuable tool in healthcare.

The amounts of data flowing into systems that provide healthcare continue to increase. For example, connected medical devices extend patient monitoring beyond the boundaries of clinics and hospital wards by enabling continuous data collection wherever networks will support it.

The emergence of connected wearable devices and medical sensors are at the forefront of Big Data in healthcare. The smart Band-Aid concept adhesively attaches sensors, processing and communications capabilities to the patient’s skin. While it provides the potential for a broad range of physiological measurements, it places a challenging set of constraints on developers.

Addressing Issues In Smart Bandage Development

The market for medical wearables is expected to reach $5.8 billion by 2019. However, developers will have to address some of the specific issues that go with the territory.

Developers will have to implement UX/UI design that integrates direct physical contact in return for biometric measurements. Assuming a reliable connection, the information collected by a smart bandage goes directly to doctors in near real-time. Physicians can receive information about patient health, potentially providing alerts based on leading indicators of health events such as heart attacks.

Intermittent network connections – One of the challenges that wearables face is the mobility of connected patients, the signal may cut in and out erratically and at the most inopportune moments. Medical wearables need to be robust enough to tolerate interruptions and to pick up where they left off after reconnecting.

Security for any connected device is always a concern; however, health data is particularly sensitive and subject to a wide range of regulations.

Power drain elimination – Processing and transmission considerations must balance against power usage constraints and the need to eliminate drains of power as much as possible. Wearables need to have the longest possible battery life to minimize data loss and supervision or maintenance requirements.

Memory footprint – Putting the capabilities of a smartphone in a wearable device, particularly one designed to stay attached to the body and not drop off, is asking much of designers. The technology demanded a rethink of memory architecture, using a type of flash memory that reduces the complexity to achieve a given amount of memory data and simplifies the way it is read. This push toward efficient memory may have spin-off implications for all devices that use flash storage and DRAM memory.

The Potential At The Intersection Of eHealth And Wearables

There are many different physiological measurements that a connected device could be designed to collect from a patient’s body. Smart Band-Aids can now measure inputs such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, EKG, temperature, and hydration levels. It is up to medical startup founders and eHealth application developers to imagine the uses and combinations that will best utilize the technology.

The technology in smart bandages offers a wearable platform for collecting medical data that is new and wide open to possibilities. The wide range of physiological inputs that sensors attached directly to the patient’s body offer to developers includes creative ways to disrupt the industry and deliver care more efficiently while collecting data that will reveal insights to change the way developers look at healthcare.

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Featured image: blog.applysci.com

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