Wearable Technology in Mental Health, Wearable, Mental Health Wearables

Wearable Technology in Mental Health: Future Trends and Possibilities

Within the last decade, wearable device evolution has made a huge leap. Things like smartwatches,  smart glasses, and even smart jewellery went a long way from fun but unnecessary accessories to extremely helpful and sometimes life-changing tools.  Healthcare is one of the industries that benefited from such progress the most, as wearables have become a convenient instrument to keep track of the patient’s state anytime, anywhere. Medical wearables are currently typically used by people with chronic conditions, but there is also one more area with great potential, and that is using wearable technology for mental health treatment and/or management.

The following editorial was prepared for you by Light IT Global experts. In it, we have gathered some of the most relevant insights that will help you recognize how many use cases there are for wearable technology in mental health, how advantageous it might be for all humanity and why now is the best time to go in for it.

Wearables & mental health: the market niche worth the hype

Is wearable technology in mental health really in demand? Which problems might it help resolve? Are there any benefits? These are exactly the questions an entrepreneur would have. So we made sure you’d be able to find answers to in this section.

First, let’s examine the topic of demand and users’ interest. Considering the fact that nearly one billion people worldwide struggle with some kind of mental disorder, it is safe to say that any solution that will be effective and accessible enough is determined to become profitable and successful. Nowadays, people are willing to try out virtually anything if there’s some evidence that the product actually works and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Reasonably priced wearables are no special case in this regard.

Now let’s highlight typical issues resolved by wearable technology in mental health.

  1. Doctor-patient synergy 

Using wearable technology for mental health management and treatment is a great way to build a reliable foundation for clear and honest communication with a GP/healthcare provider.

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Technology streamlines the interaction between patients and medical professionals in many different ways. Firstly, smart devices can send all the accumulated data directly to a healthcare provider, which helps to come up with the most effective treatment plan. Secondly, the patients themselves get a better understanding of what is happening to them, so explaining and opening up about certain struggles becomes easier.  Thirdly, instant notifications from wearables prevent healthcare emergencies providing the patient with a sense of control and security, which, in its turn, is great for forging trust-based relations with health practitioners.

  1. Better treatment outcomes

The incorporation of wearable technology in mental health treatment is one of the ways to enhance the patient’s proactivity and turn a passive recipient into an active participant in the medical care process.

By helping people to get their condition under control, reduce symptoms, and improve their overall quality of life, tech devices make a noticeable contribution to bettering treatment outcomes and easier proper lifestyle management over a long period of time.

  1. Easy access to real-time data

One of the greatest assets of modern wearables is the ability to detect and react to changes within the human body instantly. Inventions like wearable patches, rings, or headbands are capable of measuring all of our vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, breath, and even brain activity, transferring all of the gathered information into an easy-to-use app where both the user and their healthcare provider can get the most out of that data.

At the same time, wearables do not just collect health-related info for the sake of collecting it. Smart devices immediately warn the user if something is wrong or if a certain aspect of their health needs attention. When it comes to wearable technology for mental health, such alerts may be related to a high-stress level, problems with sleep patterns, lack of physical activity, possible triggers, and more!

  1. Cost reduction 
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Using wearable technology for mental health treatment facilitates remote healthcare services, which helps to cut costs both for the patient and the provider.  The combination of wearables and a telehealth solution promotes providing medical care services 100% online without compromising the quality of the treatment. Consequently, neither the patient nor the medical professional has to spend extra on arranging regular in-person consultations.

What does the future hold for medical wearables manufacturers and users?

While the industry of medical wearables manufacturing already offers us many different types of devices, it still has a huge potential for growth. As the Grand View Research report states, the US medical wearables market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 28.1% from 2022 to 2030.  And this tendency is relevant for the global market as well as there’s a whole range of factors facilitating the use of wearable technology for mental health and other conditions treatment.

  1. Scientific and technological progress will boost accessibility

As new technological advancements keep appearing on the global market, wearable technology is expected to become cheaper to produce and, as a result, more accessible to the general public. In 2023 medical wearables still remain pretty expensive and unobtainable for the majority of the population, even despite the fact that a huge number of people will most definitely benefit from using such devices. But this situation is about to change for the better over the course of the next few years.

  1. Demand for different types of wearables will be growing 

Even today, the variety of wearables available to us is nothing less but impressive. There are not just smart bracelets or watches, there are smart rings and earbuds, smart headbands, and smart clothing. In the future, the assortment of smart devices will be even larger. This means that business owners who plan on creating their own unique medical wearables can become pioneers on the evolving market and make bank!

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  1. A wider selection of mobile apps will appear

Complimentary software (typically mobile-based) is an essential addition to any wearable device. It provides the user with a convenient platform to interact with all the data collected by a wearable itself. Now such applications offer extensive reports and relevant advice that help the user take care of themselves. However, as software development progresses, the apps are expected to become even more robust and useful.

  1. More healthcare-related government initiatives will be introduced

For decades mental health problems were overlooked and swept under the rug not only by people who experience such issues but by governments. Millions of dollars are funded every year to help battle many serious healthcare-related issues like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes but not mental health conditions. Luckily this grim tendency is about to change in the future.

Common mental health illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or substance use disorders are the reason for millions of deaths every year, and they also are the major driver behind the reduced quality of life. One of the most anticipated steps that could better the situation worldwide is increased investment in the manufacturing of high-tech healthcare devices.

Major legislative initiatives and programs launched by governments will promote the use of wearable technology in mental health treatment and help decrease the number of people who are severely affected by untreated mental health conditions. Of course, such programs will first appear in developed economies like the US, Australia, or Scandinavian countries, but later it will become a global trend.

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