Big data and wearable devices are changing the healthcare industry

Wearable devices such as Fitbit can track a range of biological information, but big data experts and doctors alike are now arguing that a great portion of this data is – useless. In spite of that, the wearable devices fad has been steadily growing with more companies looking to profit from health and fitness enthusiasts.

“In Shenzhen, China, for example, the cost is very low to manufacture or design a new product, but the challenge is to make a medical grade device, ” said Vanessa Xi, founder, and CEO of YONO Health, in an interview with AllChinaTech. Xi, whose company created the first in-ear ovulation predictor, participated on a big data in healthcare panel held at GMIC Beijing 2017.

“Ensuring that the data of the device is at a medical level is very important,” said Xi, who added that wearable health devices can be very useful for hospitals and patients.

iHealth
iHealthcare Summit at GMIC Beijing 2017.Photo by Masha Borak.

“With wearable devices, we can collect data continuously and very conveniently. It’s not like in the hospital where you have to plug in a lot of wires all over your body in order to collect data.”

YONO’s tracker focuses on one specific set of data – women’s Basal Body Temperature (BBT) to help them detect ovulation. The data helps to accurately predict when a woman’s body is in ovulation, and to help women conceive or avoid conception. Earlier, women had to measure their temperature manually as soon as they woke up and if they missed the chance, the prediction might not be accurate.

Sales of wearable devices have been declining recently, but companies such as YONO are optimistic that their products will become widespread and help patients in meaningful ways. Researchers and the health industry in general are already gaining health insights from data collected by wearable devices such as these.

“We are working with two universities in the U.S., ” said Xi. “One is the University of Michigan – the Biostatistics Department. They are using our data for overnight body temperature to predict ovulation. The other one is Northwestern University. They are working on the reproductive health of women that [who] used to have cancer during their teenage years. They are using our device to understand the reproductive health of their patients.”

(Top photo from Baidu Images.)

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