Posted by:Richard Smith November 12th, 2014

(Click here to read Part 1)

Infiltration of wearables in healthcare was one of the most promising phenomena that happened recently. Dethroning the mHealth apps to claim the hotspot happened quicker than expected. The expectations about wearables are skyrocketing with every new gadget entering the market. And with each new gadget finding its perfect spot in the healthcare ecosystem, the real challenge is to see how well healthcare IT systems will accommodate and integrate the wearable data into their core processes.

wearables_in_healthcare_integration_and_data_exposure_anxieties

Will healthcare IT systems open up to wearables?

This question has a lot of relevance considering the closed nature of health information systems. Blame it on the privacy, security and regulatory policies – it is never easy to transfer or access healthcare data.

The first generation wearable devices were simple – standalone fitness trackers and monitors. But wearables are losing their standalone nature as they evolve to become the part of a collective ecosystem. The predictable implications of the same include –

  • handling of the enormous volume of data produced
  • utilizing wearable data to make meaningful analysis
  • integration and data sharing with other health information systems and
  • security and privacy considerations

Here is a sample architecture of how wearables, mobile apps and health information systems will co-exist –

wearables_in_healthcare_ecosystem

The inevitables

Data security will be the primary risk factor while accommodating wearables followed by privacy concerns. Why wearables are more vulnerable compared to mobile apps? The ever expanding spectrum of wearables cannot be controlled based on a standardized guideline due to the diversity of devices entering the market.

Moreover, establishing a standard security guideline across wearable devices would be impossible also due to

  • their potential to work in parallel to other supporting devices
  • restricted capabilities for data processing and
  • limited memory and local data storage

The future looks promising as healthcare is sure to embrace this disruptive technology to redefine many traditional customs. Exciting times ahead as coming days will reveal how well we work around all these challenges to enable interoperability and draw intelligence from wearables that will ultimately boost the efficiency of our healthcare system.

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