s it time we teach medical students about wearables?  In the Indian startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs rely on apps that streamline their day. These little software packages have revolutionized the way we think, function and live. An explosion of intimate technologies—miniature chip sensors and smartphone’s is rendering digital every experience of reality.

Meanwhile, something to note is that most of the activity happening in this sector takes place in the health and fitness division. With technology vastly improving, new ranges of wearable devices are coming out to aid people with their fitness.

What’s happening in the sector?

Technology is getting compressed every day. The macro trend started with huge computing machines, became smaller to fit a desk, shrunk further to sit on a lap, and now they fit in our palms and are sometimes even small enough to almost disappear when latched onto our clothes or body parts. The next step will be implants!

A report by Transparency Market Research predicts that the global wearable technology will reach US $5.8 billion in 2018, up from a valuation of US $ 750 million in 2012. This means a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.8% from 2012 to 2018.

A report published by Juniper Research in November 2014 states that global fitness wearables in-use will almost triple by 2018, compared to an estimated 19 million in-use devices this year.

What are the challenges?

The growing wearable sensor market is yielding ever-increasing amounts of consumer-derived digital data. These data can consistent of many different physiologic measures such as heart rate and rhythm, sleep quality, brain activity, and physical activity levels. As many consumers and commercial organizations look toward using wearable’s to monitor medical conditions, clinicians may begin to find themselves in the role of a digital data decoder.

This will be no easy task, as a number of factors will complicate the decoding and force the clinician to become a digital detective. First, medical settings largely rely on using technologies and equipment that have been tested and validated for medical use. In contrast, most wearables are consumer products, and while they produce digital data, this does not mean the data are reliable or valid for medical use.

Secondly, most clinicians have limited awareness and formal training in how to evaluate wearables and the data they produce. Therefore, from a knowledge perspective, clinicians are disempowered from assessing the data they are presented with.

Finally, even if we have impactful and valid consumer-derived data, we must integrate the presentation of this data into the clinician workflow. Without workflow integration, clinicians will be disempowered from using these data from a process perspective. Clinicians need a time-efficient method of storing and standardizing the data obtained from different devices.

Though, most Indians prefer wearable technologies at work: says a recent study. A whopping 82 per cent of adults in India have worn technologies such as headsets, smart badges and bar-code scanners for work-related activities, according to Kronos ‘Wearables at Work’ survey.Health, they say, is wealth. With the help of gadgets, you can monitor and manage both in the same discipline. What’s more, they also add an element of enterprise to health care thing the corporate world is familiar with.

The Indian market is still nascent. In 5-10 years from now as we head towards the next revolution in connectivity – wearable devices, what does this mean for recruiters? How can we, if at all leverage the reach of engaging with talent via the plethora of connected devices and objects they will be using in future?

However; could wearable devices get Doctors’ stamp of approval? Is it time we teach medical students about wearables? How soon will we prescribe a sensor or an app with a pill? Will big data drive the next generation of medical discoveries?Many questions remain unanswered…

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