Wearables may give way to ingestible mHealth tech

The slow but steady advancements in ingestible mHealth "wearables" for tracking health conditions are just the start of new tiny sensor technologies that promise to keep prescription intake on a consistent schedule while providing monitoring of vital signs and medical issues, according to Kaiser Health News.

The capabilities of today's smart watches, fitness trackers and wearable health bands may soon be on a chip that could be embedded into a pill. That could provide caregivers with vast insight regarding patient issues, according to the article.

"These so-called nanomeds, miniscule sensors embedded in a placebo pill that you swallow, set up shop in your gut. As they slowly work their way through your system, these 'ingestibles'--which are actually not digested--are switched on by contact with saliva and/or gastric juices. The signal is picked up by another sensor which looks like a Band-Aid and is worn on your chest," writes Frank Browning at Kaiser Health.

Such technologies will help health providers connect with patients and empower consumers regarding medicine use and healthcare decisions.                

The nanomed expectation is tied to the rapid development of mHealth platforms and Internet of Things evolution taking root with the help of big tech players, from Apple's HealthKit to Google's Fit to Microsoft's Health system.              

The dawn of indigestible chips is part of w "techno-wayfinding," Bill Satariano of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health says in the article.

That is, Browning says, technologies that "help us keep track of where we go, what we eat or drink and increasingly whether we're following doctor's orders in our pill consumption."

But there is a big caveat, as such tech could birth the era of Big Brother in healthcare.

"We always have to ask what is the cost to each technological advance," Satariano says.

For more information:
- read the article

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