Integration of Wearable Devices with EHR

Integration of Wearable Devices with EHR

Real-time integration between Electronic Health Records (EHR)/Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and wearable devices helps physicians monitor patients remotely and improve their wellbeing. 

Why is it important: 

Around 33% of US adults use wearable devices for tracking health indicators like blood pressure, sugar, and sleep patterns. If this data can be made available to medical experts, practitioners, and therapists, real-time healthcare assistance can be provided to support their treatment.  

What’s ahead:  

The article covers:  

  • EHRs and EMRs 
  • Wearable devices 
  • Integration of wearables with EHR/EMR 
  • Integration use cases 
  • Future of wearable devices 

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Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) 

EHRs/EMRs are digital records of patient health information. 

Complicated practices, distributed responsibilities, and interdependent roles are common challenges in healthcare organizations. One small change in the workflow can affect the performance of the entire system because of interconnected processes. EHR and EMR systems create a backbone to uphold these processes, which can help avoid adverse changes. These systems are also a welcomed upgrade from physical documents doctors previously relied on for recording data.  

EHRs and EMRs offer auto-updates, pre-defined templates, and patient tracking, bringing coordination to workflows. For medical practitioners, things become more accessible with visual dashboards that provide a holistic view of the consolidated data. EHR dashboards would typically include a diagnostic heatmap, patient history, vitals chart, lab reports, and medications prescribed.  

Wearable Devices

Wearable devices are a category of electronic devices that can be worn as accessories on the body. Wearable devices are a part of the MedTech family. Medtech refers to devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life.  

The first wearable device was introduced to the world in 1960. The technology made very few advancements over the next several decades apart from Hewlett Packard’s calculator watch. But with the dawn of the new century, slimline devices like fitness trackers were introduced with much popularity.  

Modern wearables include devices with internal and external sensors. External sensors include GPS and IMUs like accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers that are used to measure movements. Internal sensors measure vitals and personal measures like body temperature, heart rate, sugar levels, sleep patterns, and stress. 

At IFA 2015, more wearable devices were launched by Apple, Huawei, Samsung, Motorola, and Asus, bringing a new wave of revolution. It has been estimated that by 2027, the wearables global market size will reach $195.57 billion. 

Wearables have since made their way into the world of healthcare, presenting opportunities for service improvements with real-time health tracking and support for patients. The wearable devices are powered by advanced algorithms that keep patients abreast of their health conditions and provide them with recommendations on remedies. They also help healthcare practitioners find new medical treatments and deliver therapies to their patients. 

 In the US, 54% of the adults using wearables track at least one health parameter.  

Wearable Device  Application 
HeartGuide smartwatch  Monitors oscillometric blood pressure and daily activities 
Move ECG  Measures electrocardiogram and detect atrial fibrillation 
Philip’s wearable biosensor  Collects data on movement, temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate  
Apple Watch  Includes heart rate monitoring, cardio fitness tracking, fall detection, medical ID and more 

 

Augusta University Medical Center observed that Philip’s biosensor could bring down the cases of patient deterioration into respiratory and cardiac arrests by 89%. While this improved patient outcomes, it reduced the workload of the hospital staff too.  

Wearables are also encouraged by insurance companies through the development of incentives and health-tracking programs such as United Healthcare, Oscar Health, and John Hancock.  

Integration of Wearables with EHR/EMR 

So far, we’ve determined that EHR systems record patient information collected from a care provider inside a health facility and wearable devices collect health information based on everyday activities—this paints two district pictures of an individual’s health status but lacks a comprehensive summation. By integrating wearable devices with EHR systems, this gap can be filled. Wearables can enable remote monitoring of patients at all times to support the needs of the real-time virtual care of patients. This data can then be recorded in EHR system to create a 360° health view for patients and their physicians.  

The integration process of syncing health data from wearable devices to EHR systems includes a requirement analysis, product architecture, technical consultation, development, integration, compliance, QA, and several other due diligence measures 

So, what are the advantages of connected medical devices? 

  • Real-time vitals  
  • Early detection of major health events 
  • Enables physicians to direct better courses of action 
  • Patients are more aware of their overall wellbeing 
  • Saves health facilities time and money 

Challenges can include:   

  • Data standardization: Data from wearables might not adhere to the format of the EHR system in which it is trying to integrate. 
  • Interoperability: Certain EHR systems may not warrant connections with wearable devices and vice versa  
  • Data reliability: If a person is not wearing or using a wearable device properly, data could be unreliable 
  • Privacy and security: Unsecure network connections and poor authentication are both concerns with wearable devices 

Technologies have been developed to integrate EHR systems with personal wellness devices. Some of these are listed in the table below.  

EHR Integration Systems  Applications 
Overlap  Data generated from mobile apps, wearables, and other medical devices can be added to the clinical workflows. 
Philips IntelliBridge  Integrates patient care devices with hospital information systems to support fast action with remote diagnostics. 
Validic  The platform provides a remote patient monitoring solution and extracts patient data from 500 medical devices and wearables. 
Xealth  Clinicians can integrate and monitor digital health tools from EHR workflows. 

 

Use Case: Chronic Disease Management with Wearables 

Chronic diseases are a significant burden to the healthcare system in the US as they account for 70% of deaths in America and consume 75% of healthcare costs annually. The need for hospitalization for chronic disease cases can be reduced with proactive care of patients. Wearable devices can track measures like sugar levels and blood pressure and based on the patient health information gathered by wearable devices, healthcare providers can recommend lifestyle changes like diet, medicine, or exercise. 

To transform chronic disease care, Infostretch developed a patient companion mobile app for a medical technology company that extracted diagnostics from an electrotherapy-based nerve stimulating wristband and built a telemetry data pipeline that reshaped the delivery of prescription therapies using a non-invasive approach to treat tremors.  

Behind the App: The therapeutic devices collect data at the backend and send it to the cloud, where it is further processed and transformed to finally update the user dashboards for a comprehensive view. The mobile dashboard allows the management of therapeutic and wearable devices remotely.  

The Future of Healthcare 

As the advances in technology, data, and insights lead to a “healthcare everywhere” approach, care is no longer limited to the hospital, doctor’s office, or lab. Integrating wearables with EHR and EMR system can create new possibilities for virtual care by connecting inpatient care with outpatient activities for a comprehensive healthcare view. 

It won’t be long until wearable devices evolve into first-aid drones that land on our doorstep to administer care without human intervention. But until then, the patient experience will continue to improve with MedTech.  

To understand how you can integrate your EMR/EHR systems with wearable devices, please check out Infostretch’s  Medtech Services  or get in touch directly using the form below. 

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