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article imageNew advances announced in wearable health technology

By Tim Sandle     Jun 15, 2016 in Health
This week sees the information released about three new wearable health technologies for diabetics and cardiac patients, produced by major healthcare companies J&J, Abbott, and GE.
Wearable health technology represents a significant growth area, both in terms of the numbers and types of technologies emerging and the potential revenues for the companies developing the devices. Recently, Phillips-Medisize purchased Medicom Innovation Partner. This is, as Heath Care News (@hc_suppliesin) has tweeted, order to develop wearable health devices.
According to QMed three major players have, this week, announced new developments. This included GE, which is developing a type of wireless skin sensor. This device affixes to the skin much like a bandage and it analyzes sweat. The body fluid is assessed for ‘vital signs’ and examines differences before and after treatment. The device functions much like an electrocardiogram and its purpose is to assess heart health.
The GE device was developed in conjunction with the Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The technology is based on an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) which illuminates when electricity flows through its specialized organic polymers.
A second innovation comes from Johnson & Johnson, who are close to launching a wearable insulin delivery device. The device will be branded the ‘OneTouch Via.’ It will be designed to provide insulin "on demand" for adult diabetic patients. The device is thin, water-resistant and in a patch form. Each patch can be worn for up to three days. The patch has been presented to the American Diabetes Association conference in New Orleans.
In relation to the device, social media user Bridget Kimmel (@bridgecomms2) tweeted about some new clinical trial data in support of the Johnson & Johnson device: "Positive patient user study data @OneTouch Via on-demand insulin delivery device."
Similarly medical company Abbott has produced an app that allows wearers of an existing wearable medical device, called ‘FreeStyle Libre’, to continuously monitor their glucose levels. The collected data can be shared with healthcare providers. The new app is called the ‘LibreLink app’ and it was designed by the Swedish company Diasend. The app works with Android devices. Viv Keenan (@vivkeenan), a British woman, has highlighted a campaign, via Twitter and other media, to have the device made available to British diabetics via the U.K. National Health Service.
In related news, to assist developers of wearable devices and associated apps, IBM is introducing patient record deciphering know-how services via its Watson super-computer. The functionality will also include natural language processing. This is according to the principal investigator for the Watson EMR Analyzer (EMRA).
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