Prediction: Health wearables to save 1.3 million lives by 2020

By Brian Dolan
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Apple Watch Sport sensorssSmart wearable devices may help save 1.3 million lives by 2020, according to a prediction made by Switzerland-based firm Soreon Research. According to the analyst group: "Smart wearables, a set of sensors attached to the body with a direct link to smart devices, are the most industry-disrupting innovation as well as a major opportunity to transform the healthcare system."

The firm's lives saved number is mostly accounting for reduction in mortality thanks to wearables employed for in-hospital monitoring, which will likely help save about 700,000 lives of the 1.3 million.

“New wearable technology can easily extend monitoring functions beyond the intensive care unit and alert medical professionals to any follow-on medical problems a patient may develop. Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved as a result,” Pascal Koenig, Research Director at Soreon said in a statement. “Two other areas where innovative wearable healthcare products could have major benefits are cardiovascular conditions and obesity.”

Monitoring cardiovascular diseases with wearables could prevent 230,000 deaths, while obesity related deaths could be reduced by 150,000. 

“Smart wearables are in a fast-paced, exploratory phase, where the breadth of available solutions reflects their market potential,” Koenig said in the statement. “Soon patients with all different disorders will be using wearables for personalized diagnostics and full-time monitoring. Along with organizing their everyday lives, health data will be handled conveniently via a mobile device. Compared to existing health tracking options, these devices will be life guardians and their adoption rate will be enormous.”

Soreon believes that patients with chronic conditions will help drive the smart wearables market from $2 billion today to $41 billion by 2020.

Another separate report this week from TechNavio predicts that the global location-based services market for the healthcare industry will grow about 31 percent over the next four years.

The firm notes that real-time performance monitoring has become more popular in healthcare to increase hospital efficiency. Doctors, staff, and patients are using all kinds of wearable devices: pedometers, smart watches, and health monitors.

“In 2014, around 10 million units of wearable devices were sold worldwide and this number is expected to grow nearly tenfold in the coming years,” Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of TechNavio said in a statement. “The constant use of wearable devices in the healthcare industry is anticipated to reduce hospital costs by a significant amount over the next six years.”