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:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Blood/Oxygen levels
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.