Achieving cooperation from even the most willing patients can be a challenge for medical professionals. Patients don’t always report their symptoms accurately and may fail to conduct prescribed monitoring tests at home. What’s more, many patients ignore or deny the initial signs of a health problem even when getting immediate care could improve their condition.
Biosensors present a viable solution to many of these challenges. Wearable electronic devices embedded in everyday objects can monitor a patient’s vital signs and detect important biological anomalies. For example:
As medical costs drive prevention and early diagnosis, identifying and monitoring risk factors is key to reducing the cost of patient care. Real time monitoring holds the promise of improving patient outcomes by making the patient at stakeholder in their own care and treatment.
Medical biosensors can expedite identifying changes in physiology resulting in proactive, earlier treatment. With recent advances in technology, monitoring devices can be deployed with less cost than outpatient care. Burgeoning growth is expected through 2025, growing to $20 billion.
What is a Wearable Biosensor?
An electronic device that can continuously and non-invasively monitor and transmit physiological information qualifies as a biosensor, such as a smartwatch or athletic band that monitors heart rate. Advanced sensors can track targeted bio-markers resulting in better clinical understanding of disease.
Components of Wearable Biosensors
There are three main components of any medical biosensor:
A bioreceptor that detects a body function or level of a biomarker and creates the related electrochemical or optical data.
A transducer that translates this raw data to an electrical signal that can communicate the biological information.
Electronic devices that amplify the signal and make it available to analytical software on
Benefits of Wearable Biosensors
Wearers don’t have to regularly connect to a computer to download information. The data is sent wirelessly for continuous control. There is less action required by the patient.
When people can monitor their own health markers, they are more proactive in their care. It also helps them to better adhere to prescribed medications and routines.
Doctors don’t have to rely on a patient’s recollection or ability to describe how they felt—they can look at the data instead. This helps patients and doctors work together in personalizing treatment plans.
Health issues can often be addressed before they balloon into a crisis. For example, warning signs like high blood pressure or irregular heartbeats can be detected and diagnosed.
Better medical records
Acquired data is saved for comparison in the future, and becomes part of the patient’s medical record, thus reducing the need for retesting and the infrastructure to support it. Treatment and care is more immediate and reduces the burden on hospitals and clinics.
Wearable Biosensors in the Medical & Healthcare Industry
As screen-printed electrodes continue to make wearable biosensor devices smaller and able to provide more targeted data, the list of potential applications has increased dramatically. Today, we see medical professionals using wearable health monitoring for:
Tracking heart rates in cardiac patients even after they have been discharged from the hospital.
Monitoring stress levels in people with challenging occupations, such as military, law enforcement, miners, firefighters, and more.
Checking athlete health before, during, and after physical activity to ensure continued wellbeing and improve performance.
Monitoring vital signs in premature and newborn babies.
Observing wound healing and ensuring that there are no signs of infection.
In addition, wearable biosensors are finding their way into many new technologies, such as:
Smart watches, rings, and bracelets that check heart rate and pulse, among other vital signs.
Google smart lenses
Wearable glucose sensors that monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics.
Patches and temporary tattoos that contain biosensors for continuously monitoring vital signs in hospitals and at home.
Smart shirts and vests that detect vitals, activity levels, or damage such as bullet holes or wounds for law enforcement and military soldiers.
Q Sensors that detect subtle biological changes in autistic children to identify emotional shifts.
Screen Printed Electrode Biosensors from Techprint
Techprint is a leader in developing and manufacturing custom printed electrodes integrated into many wearable medical devices. We assist medical OEMs, product development firms, and biomedical contract manufacturers to create effective sensors and medical electrodes that detect biological and physical markers in patients. We are also an ISO 9001-2015, TUV-certified design and manufacturing facility.
Whether you’ve been watching football every Sunday this season or not, you know that injuries are a frequent occurrence for players. Some injuries, however, are longer-lasting than others. Traumatic brain injuries have been gaining attention for years as the effects of repeated concussions become recognized. Since concussions can happen at any time during youth, high school, and college, it’s critical to prevent and monitor them at all stages. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is the medical term for what happens to the brain after it’s been exposed to significant trauma over time. It is a degenerative disease that causes the death of brain cells. Some of the earliest symptoms are mood and behavioral changes, but it will later worsen to include memory loss, cognitive problems, and dementia.
Because football players are at a high risk for brain injury, researchers have been working to come up with a solution. The top football helmet manufacturers have been working on updates to prevent and diagnose player concussions. While prevention is ideal, early diagnosis is key to reducing further damage. Riddell is one major brand that has released new football helmets designed to protect against head injuries.
Riddell is among the most popular helmet manufacturers in the US. Their new Riddell InSite Impact Response System utilizes sensors in the helmet to monitor impacts. When significant impacts are found, an alert is sent to the athletic trainer or coach to let them know. The data is also uploaded to a team database for further tracking.
The company also produces custom-fit football helmets using 3-D scanning technology to provide the exact amount of cushioning in the best locations for each player. The tailored approach provides added protection designed for each person.
As a flexible electronics manufacturer, Techprint works with helmet designers to come up with sensors that can be incorporated into sports equipment. Our aim is always safety, so being able to contribute to the next generation of helmets is a responsibility we’re proud of.
To learn more about our capabilities and how we can help design safer football helmets and concussion monitoring technologies, call 1-800-225-2538. You can also request information online.
When most people think about wearable electronics, the first image that comes to mind is the smartwatch on their wrist. In reality, there are many highly advanced sensors that are being created in the healthcare sector. They keep track of much more than the number of steps you take, and can provide life-saving data to help doctors assess patient health.
Wearables in Healthcare
There are many applications for wearable sensors, including monitoring neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. These sensors provide clinical grade data from patients regardless of whether they are in a medical office or taking care of errands at home. This can be extremely useful since symptoms may come and go throughout the day, and won’t always be obvious at a doctor’s visit.
Another type of wearable sensor is the UV patch which can monitor sun exposure. The user puts on a slim patch that measures how much UV exposure they’re getting from the sun. Considering most people don’t put on enough sunscreen and many forget to reapply it often enough, this patch can be a great tool for anyone who loves the sun but is concerned about rising skin cancer rates. This can be especially useful as the seasons change, since people are still spending time outdoors but may be less worried about sun exposure in the cooler temperatures.
Sensors in Professional Settings
Wearable sensors have also entered the workplace. Now companies can effectively monitor their workforce and identify risks from poor ergonomics or repetitive movements. If workers are improperly lifting heavy items, or straining regularly throughout the day, it can result in injuries. By tracking worker movement, employers can see where improvement is needed and provide necessary training. This can improve safety and productivity while reducing costs and downtime.
The sports industry has also caught on to this technology and has been using wearable sensors. Riddell, long known for their football sports equipment, is using sensors inside of helmets to determine the impact of hits to a player’s body. To date, Riddell has monitored over two million hits to players. This data can be used to monitor issues such as concussions.
If you have an idea for a new way to use diagnostic sensors, we invite you to get in touch via email at email@example.com to see how we can help. Techprint’s design and manufacturing capabilities support many custom wearable applications.
In 2014, the wearable medical devices market took in around $2.7 billion dollars and is expected to grow in large proportions by the year 2023. Estimates are suggesting the market will reach $10 billion dollars by that year globally.
Although there are numerous devices that are manufactured in this market, the largest growth rate is found in heart rate monitors and many of the devices are used for home health care. Two of the main reasons the wearable medical devices market is expected to grow is because of the latest in innovation and the many people who use these devices. Although some devices can be prescribed by doctors, many people who take their health seriously use them in an effort to better understand and maintain their own bodies. This demographic tends to be tech-savvy, health conscious, and in the higher income brackets. Those people on the lower income side enjoy the same type of products, but typically tend to look for cheaper models.
Also growing in popularity is non-invasive diagnostic devices. These are a type of wearable used in the biosensor market to gather medical information from patients. Examples of this include devices that can monitor and map areas of the body including cardiac monitoring and brain waves. This technology is vital to managing the health of the aging population, and will only become more important as technology continues to improve. The sensors and electrodes that gather this data is one of the most important parts of these diagnostic devices, and is an area where Techprint can assist manufacturers. Techprint is a custom designer and manufacturer of specialty graphics and printed electronic products. Our capabilities include the ability to design and produce custom printed electrodes and biosensor products, including those in the non-invasive diagnostic wearable medical devices market. TechPrint is able to design and produce the right product for most any device. Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and learn more how we can help you with your wearable device development.