NHS's top doctor believes gadgets that record heart rate and other health information will revolutionise healthcare
This week NHS England threw its support behind the use of technology in healthcare. Following Prof Sir Bruce Keogh’s article on wearable technology as a solution, Oxehealth CEO Jonathan Chevallier explains why wearables aren’t the only technology the NHS should look to for answers.
Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, I read your comments with delight knowing that there is a champion of innovative technology within the NHS.
I agree that wearables have their place in healthcare, but they also have limitations, for example:
- Except for the very simplest wearables (i.e. activity trackers) battery life is a major issue and constantly having to remove and recharge devices just isn't going to be practical or sustainable for most patients
- Some patients dislike wearables, finding them uncomfortable and intrusive. This is likely to particularly apply to elderly patients who comprise the largest area of health spend
- Compliance is likely to be a real issue with wearables. Recent surveys show that after 6 months over 50% of devices are no longer used (as for many conditions the effort of compliance outweighs the perceived benefits) and for the elderly where memory issues can also be a factor this problem with be amplified
One of the ways we are looking to overcome these hurdles is through the use of non-contact vital sign monitoring. Our Oxecam, camera-based technology allows continuous monitoring of a patient that is unobtrusive. It has already been shown to monitor heart rate, breathing rate and blood oxygenation in studies at Oxford University Hospitals Trust and is being extended to cover more vital signs. It can also be used in a wide range of settings including home, hospitals, secure rooms ( i.e. in prisons) and vehicles.
I think the NHS will really benefit in the coming years as it begins to adopt more technology that can save time, money and increase care.