How wearables are leveling the healthcare playing field

DATAx speaks with JumpStartCSR chief operating officer Wesley Ollson about how wearables are changing the industry and the way people examine their health data

19Feb

The process of at-home care and recovery has been completely revolutionized in our increasingly connected world, with health wearables carving the way forward for the industry.

The technology ceased being a sci-fi plotline when it first went mainstream with the advent of the Fitbit. Last year, health wearables experienced a boom in popularity when the latest series of Apple Watch arrived with a number of futuristic-feeling health features, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor which can measure heart rate and rhythm. The industry has not looked back, with the global market expected to reach almost $4.4bn by the end of 2019, before soaring to a whopping $17.8bn in 2021, according to Statista.

With the industry thriving and ceaselessly innovating, we now have an almost unbelievable capacity to receive and understand our own health data from the comfort of our own homes. And it is shaping the way we view our personal health considerably.

Jump StartCSR is one of a number of health wearables startups that has found its footing in this new era of healthcare. The company has developed a number of intelligent footbeds that are personalized, ergonomic and use transferable sensors and electronics to continuously monitor individual's biomechanical health to aid injury recovery and optimize their sports performance. It feeds back the information to the patient with the help of the company's connected Holmz system.

DATAx sat down with JumpStartCSR chief operating officer Wesley Ollson to discuss how wearables are disrupting the industry by leveling the playing field.

"Wearables have been around for a very long time – they are not new to the medical professional, but the availability, portability and accessibility of these devices to the individual is one of the most significant changes in the relationship," begins Ollson. "We see a huge deficiency in the recent consumer wearables trend however, which is the prevalence of inaccurate and inconsistent data. While providers are very interested in this data, it's untrustworthy and unreliable. First from the devices and second from the inconsistent application by the user."

In an era where we have more and more access to our healthcare data, people are beginning to become empowered to question the quality and source of the information we are given. Ollson explains why wearables are leading to people questioning the veracity of health data.

"Practitioners and providers don't trust "black box" results any more than we, as patients, would trust an expert not being able to explain how they arrived at a given conclusion," he says. It's no surprise in our current climate that users are now reluctant to trust the veracity of data, however, JumpStartCSR has found a solution to this problem, Ollson claims.

"Holmz removes this roadblock by providing the rationale behind its assessments and conclusions, including the method and data it used to arrive at its conclusion, all in a form that is intuitive to the provider," he explains.

Ollson is also keen to emphasize his belief that wearables are set to define a more equal playing field in the healthcare industry.

"Wearables, and the connected care opportunities they provide, will improve practitioner productivity and the quality of patient outcomes. We can use them to promote equitable care and to extend quality care to individuals who are challenged socially, economically, physically and or geographically," he explains.

"Combining wearables with a cognitive expert system such as Holmz, allows providers to have access to new insights that will lead to better patient experience and serve to advance predictive care: True healthcare vs sickcare."

It is impossible to argue that the rise of data and its applications in healthcare are not significantly improving the healthcare industry. However, following the data sharing scandals which rocked 2018's social media landscape to its very core, people are more worried than ever about their personal data security – and it does not get more personal than healthcare data. Ollson is understandably concerned about data security.

"JumpStartCSR takes [data security] very seriously," he tells us. "We've gone beyond HIPAA, HITECH, GDPR and other regulations. We take a very user-centric approach beginning with the understanding that the user owns their data. We are stewards and curators of that data.

"As a result, we've taken the following actions. All data using our devices is encrypted at the point of collection. All hardware uses the latest IoT security solutions. Data is de-identified and fragmented. Connectivity and cloud storage comply with HIPAA and HITECH requirements.

"Equally important is that no-one has access to a user's data except the user," he adds. "The user must decide what information is shared under what circumstances, who will receive that data and for how long.

"Practically speaking, I could be sharing my training data with training partners for an upcoming 10K run. Holmz will manage our training schedules, individually, to minimize the risk of lower body muscular skeletal injury and share training progress and risk of injury updates with people such as my training partners, coach and trainer," outlines Ollson. "After the race has been run, Holmz will reach out to me asking if I want to maintain these connections, thereby eliminating the worry that I'm sharing data with people that no longer need it.

JumpStart's system is able to branch beyond cold logic and understands that healing is a unique experience – something we will no doubt increasingly see with the advancement of personalized wearables.

"From a healthcare perspective, Holmz will track my rehabilitation and reach out to me when it thinks I'm healed," Ollson explains. "If I say I'm not healed, then Holmz will tag my profile and track changes until I say I am healed.

"Holmz learns what healed means to the user, versus the textbook definition," he says. "Holmz will keep your medical team informed based on your information sharing choices. And once you're healed, Holmz will reach out and ask if you want to maintain these connections, ensuring your data sharing connections are current and reduced to only those you deem important."

The impact that wearables are having on our world goes beyond their ability to simply enhance medical practices. Scratch the surface and we see a technology with the power to enable people to take hold of their personal health, and this empowerment is already disrupting the medical landscape. 

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