Person-enabled health is helping patients play a greater role in their care and putting them at the heart of treatment pathways as well as potentially preventing conditions from developing or worsening.
Pivotal within that are digital technologies – including sensors, remote monitoring apps and wearables – that see data flow between patients, who may have chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and their healthcare team. Increasingly, wearables are getting more stylish, smaller and discreet, such as the CART-I, cardio-tracker smart ring from Sky Labs. But technological advances and design mean they are still able to provide high-quality real-time data that can be seamlessly transmitted to physicians to aid diagnostic and treatment decision-making.
Better connected patients
Person-enabled health sees people actively involved a healthcare delivery strategy that meets their needs, values and lifestyle choices.
It has long been recognised that many patients are experts in their conditions; they live with them on a daily basis, often take part in clinical trials, and keep up to date with latest therapies, treatments and potential advances in care.
But it is only in recent years, where technology and better connectivity has begun to play a pivotal role in healthcare and care delivery, that the patient has come to the fore as almost an equal partner in their diagnosis and care.
Difficult to detect
Wearables such as smart watches, rings and apps can deliver data that can help prevent disease or offer early diagnosis.
This can be in diabetes with monitoring of blood glucose, for example; blood pressure; or for other cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.
Remote monitoring enables patients to report any health changes they experience in real-time, and often with direct user intervention, to alert doctors as soon as possible.
Some conditions, such as Atrial Fibrillation (AF), are intermittent and difficult to detect but with long-term monitoring changes can be picked up and relayed back to the physician by the CART-I smart ring through a mobile app linked to cloud-based technology.
Smart wearable monitoring ring
The CART-I smart wearable heart rhythm monitoring medical device utilises photoplethysmography (PPG) signals to measure heart rate from screening the bloodstream 24/7.
The finger is acknowledged as providing greater sensitivity for the sensors, with more accurate and better signal quality, compared to other parts of the body because it has a higher volume of atrial blood flow.
“With CART-I, the patient can collect their own data and easily transfer that real-time continuous data to the doctor,” explained Sky Labs CEO Jack Lee.
Data harvested via remote monitoring can build clearer pictures of conditions and improve the patient experience.
Tackling COVID backlog
The COVID pandemic reinforced the benefits of forward-thinking healthcare, emphasising the benefits of preventive care, with digital technology playing an important role in that.
Additionally, experts suggest efforts to tackle the elective care backlog created by the pandemic could be supported if patient pathways are more digitally enabled. That message forms an element of the NHS England delivery plan for addressing the COVID-19 backlog.