Currently, we are living in a technological age where possibilities are endless. It is not unusual to see new inventions almost every day. In this paper, I am going to focus on smartwatches and their health benefits. In general, smartwatches allow people to become aware of their health metrics, improve their overall health, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Two scholars, Blaine Reeder and Alexandria David have done a systematic review of smartwatches to analyze its impact on people’s health and wellness. Their findings suggest that smartwatches are effective technologies to monitor people’s health during everyday living. These widely available consumer devices have various built-in sensors to detect health abnormalities and keep track of the physical activities. More importantly, smartwatches encourage people to do more physical activities by indicating their daily, monthly, and annual progress. For example, if a personal goal is to make 12,000 steps a day and the person takes only 7,000, the devices remind that person to take the remaining 5000 steps.
Also, people use their recorded progress to push themselves off the new limits and break their records. Eventually, all of these contribute to the promotion of health. The newer smartwatches even use a bi-directional (two-way) communication system. This function is especially crucial for elderly or physically disabled, who live alone. If their smartwatch senses health abnormalities such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, or lack of motion, the device alarm family members or healthcare providers. Thus, the smartwatch can save the life of a person at a crucial moment.
The future of smartwatches looks promising because it opens up endless possibilities for the healthcare system. It can also be integrated into Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. With the development of artificial intelligence, the quality of medical services may improve significantly. Artificial intelligence is thousands of times faster in analyzing patients’ medical history compared to humans. Healthcare professionals no longer needed to go through files of papers to analyze patient history. Simply, they can use the functions of AI.
In my opinion, in the future, smartwatches will be the primary technology for medical checkups. Healthcare providers will be able to receive continuous data from those devices and store them in their databases for further evaluation with Artificial intelligence. If smartwatches successfully integrated into AI, it will make healthcare jobs a lot easier. And a large group of the population will be getting medical checkups on time. In other words, people may forget to go to their medical checkups, but the smartwatches will be always on time to send your health vitals to healthcare providers.
Professor Kunal Mankodiya from Wearable Biosensing Lab, University of Rhode Island, suggests that wearable technologies such as smartwatches can also analyze the mental conditions of individuals. The built-in sensors inside the watches can measure an individual’s body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin response, ambient light, motion, and wearable status. The watches can also detect external sound. Interestingly, the devices are smart enough to indicate people’s emotions by analyzing the captured sounds.
According to professor Kunal, the data received through those smartwatches may help behavioral therapists to pinpoint specific periodic events that lead to emotional meltdowns at school or home. Considering all the outlined benefits, it is logical to say that smartwatches will be the friend of humanity in the future. Humans have varying personalities and behaviors. Therefore, people sometimes need personalized treatments. In this case, smartwatches will be helpful to determine what type of personalized care a person needs.
It will be fair to mention some of the downsides of smartwatches. The primary downside is the cost. Some of the smartwatches, specifically the ones that are designed for medical purposes, cost a lot of money. Thus, some people cannot afford to get one. However, the most serious downside of smartwatches is security and privacy threats. Some ill-minded hackers can hack into people’s accounts. Each smartwatch owner has an account, where the device stores daily information. If cybercriminals hack into that account and gain access to the accumulated data, the user’s sensitive information such as geographic location, health metrics, and credit card information will get into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is important to use smartwatches that ensure the highest levels of privacy and protect sensitive information.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the benefits of smartwatches outweigh their risks. Concisely, smartwatches contributing to the overall well-being of humans and it will have a greater impact on human health in the nearest future. Currently, there are small towns and cities, the populations of which have limited access to healthcare services. The smartwatches will be a good solution for those people. Having a smartwatch at their hands, healthcare providers will be able to monitor their health remotely. And, there is also a vulnerable population of elderly and physically disabled, who have a hard time to access healthcare checkups due to their physical limitations. In those situations, the smartwatches will play an important role as well.