A “quantified self” is the self-monitoring of individuals, whether biological, physical, behavioral or environmental.
Individual measurement application is a new trend that makes it possible for individuals to monitor their health status in real time by measuring data about their own health, thus helping them to protect their health.
In individual measurement applications, healthy life elements such as daily step count, sleep duration, meal pattern, stress level, and medical parameters such as blood sugar level, body weight, blood pressure, heart function and oxygen level in the blood can be recorded -integrated-.
While individual measurement applications enable the recording and tracking of this data, it can also play a role in
encouraging positive behavior through various methods such as warning messages, interesting visuals, and game points. All these functions mentioned are realized with the help of software applications and tools such as wearable technology.
Wearable technology; It includes various tools that are worn, worn or carried by the person in any way, such as jewelry, glasses, clothing, which contain receivers or other technologies (PWC Health Research Institute 2014). Wearable health technologies can be expressed with different concepts in different studies. Leonhardt (2006) used the term personal healthcare tools for these technologies and defined them as “smart, wearable tools that support sick individuals in their home environment”. Lymberis and Dittmar (2007) also gave examples of this technology and its applications with the definitions of "wearable health systems" and "intelligent biomedical clothing". In general, raising awareness of health status, weight control, promoting order and continuity in physical and bodily activities appear as the main and common purposes in the use of this technology (Ananthanarayan, Siek 2012).
Wearable technology, which plays an effective role in individual measurement, has become a tool that can measure not only clinical findings, but also general health, vitality and quality of life, thanks to its ever-developing, shrinking, lightening – in a sense, easier to carry – devices. It is thought that these tools have the potential to improve the quality of life and evolve health services by recording and monitoring individuals' lifestyles, detecting their diseases and managing the treatment process (Bushko 2005; Deloitte 2014). As a matter of fact, Barnard and Shea (2004), these service solutions; It is designed to provide real-time vital and diagnostic information to healthcare providers, patients and relevant stakeholders to improve the quality of care, reduce costs and give patients better control over their own health. As wearable technology becomes cheaper, more experienced and the quality of data it provides increases, it is predicted that these tools will become a part of the health ecosystem over time (PWC Health Research Institute 2014a).
With self-monitoring technology, health awareness will be realized through real-time receivers that constantly monitor a certain health parameter. Group dynamics and social influences can play a fundamental role in motivation. Systems that support such an interaction make it possible to share data (social networks) with a group of friends who have a common health goal or compete with each other on this issue. Another way to motivate healthy living activities is to make the desired behavior enjoyable. This is usually possible by gamifying behavior.
Individual measurement through wearable technology helps people shape their quality of life. An individual measuring person will be able to see the effects of their possible negative behaviors and choose to correct them. Moreover, individual measurement offers individuals the opportunity to track their own health expenditures. It will take a lot of time for individuals to evaluate all the collected data and reach a conclusion on their own, but smart wearable technology devices that record this data also save people from spending time on this.
Many people decide to go to the gym or go on a diet, but fail to make it a habit of life. This situation reveals the necessity of providing a health technology that will support the users during the small and slow developments they will achieve.
For motivated users who exercise regularly, wearable technologies can play a supporting role; these users can enjoy being able to monitor, calculate and analyze their physical activity. For less motivated users, wearable technologies can act as an encouragement to gradually increase their physical activity. In this way, wearable technology helps individuals to optimize their lifestyles by providing a digital coaching task in managing their own health, thus reducing unnecessary trips to the hospital.
While there have been attempts to design and develop wearables that serve various purposes over the past decade, they seem to be predominantly fitness oriented.
Total sales estimates for wearable technology products between 2023 and 2026 (IDTechEX., 2016).
In the last few years, the interest of both researchers and healthcare providers in wearable technology has increased. The new tools that have emerged are more sophisticated than their predecessors in that they are used to perform a variety of tasks and have the potential to improve the processes of some professionals.
Individual measurement has become a new trend today, with 60% of United States citizens monitoring their weight, diet, and exercise programs, and 33% recording measurements of other factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, headaches, and sleep patterns. In the United States, 27% of internet users monitor their health data online, 9% use health alert messages, and 40,000 health apps are available on smartphones.
Ananthanarayan and Siek (2012) evaluated wearable technologies in terms of three important elements that they think will persuade individuals:
self-monitoring, social impact and entertainment:
- In self-monitoring technologies, health awareness is realized through real-time receivers that constantly monitor a certain health parameter.
- Group dynamics and social influences can play a fundamental role in motivation. Systems that support such an interaction make it possible to share data (social networks) with a group of friends who have a common health goal or compete with each other on this issue.
- Another way to motivate healthy living activities is to make the desired behavior enjoyable. This is usually possible by gamifying behavior.
It can be said that in addition to the personal benefits it offers to individuals, individual measurement will also benefit physicians by facilitating service delivery. The report prepared by the Health Research Institute states that wearable technology can provide new ways for patients and service providers to communicate through remote monitoring and mobile health applications (PWC Health Research Institute 2014b). With the help of wearable technology, the data recorded by patients can be integrated with health services and sent directly to electronic medical records, making it possible for physicians to monitor the patient without seeing them in person. It will be possible to provide a personalized preventive health service, and thus to improve the quality of life of patients, by evaluating patients in the light of these data (Deloitte 2019). In addition to allowing long-term, continuous and uninterrupted physiological data monitoring, these tools can also provide real measurements of the patient's health status and information that cannot be accessed in clinical practice.
In the light of all these evaluations, the benefits of individual measurement and wearable technology can be summarized as follows:
- Identifying and reducing negative behaviors by monitoring one's self
- Data on behavior, health status, and health budgets
- Motivating patients to take control of their diet, exercise and health
- By integrating into health services, physicians can learn more about the patient.
and development of personalized preventive health care
- Communicating emergencies to healthcare providers or patient relatives
- Provide a tool for improving medical education
- Increasing the quality of life of patients
- Societal-scale data for healthcare providers, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies
obtaining and taking precautions against diseases
- Guiding health policies in the light of collected data
Current Situation in Wearable Technology Market and Usage
One in three US and British citizens wishes to use a wearable health technology that shares their personal data with a healthcare provider. 61% of these users said they felt more informed, and 82% of users in the US said they thought these technologies had improved their lives. 88% of physicians also want patients to be able to monitor their health parameters at home (Orange Healthcare 2019).
Total revenue estimates for wearable technology products between
2023 and 2026 (IDTechEX., 2016).
In another study (Graham 2020) of nearly 900 adults on fitness apps and smartphone recordings in the US, subjects were asked whether they recorded their weight, diet, and exercise program. While 25.1% of the participants used a fitness tracker or smartphone application, 74.9% stated that they did not use these tools. The most common reasons for not monitoring health status or fitness applications were lack of interest with 27.2% and high cost with 17.7%. When asked whether people who do not monitor their health status or fitness applications want a fitness recorder provided by a physician, it was revealed that 48.2% of them do. In addition, 57.1% stated that the fact that they will pay lower health insurance premiums will be effective in using a fitness tracking tool. On the other hand, 44.2% stated that getting better healthcare advice from their physicians would be an incentive for them to use a fitness tracking tool. After the use of these tools has increased with the developing technology, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the tools.
Although the process of creating wearable technology is a purely technical issue, it requires the cooperation of experts from many different fields such as textile, electronics, fashion, design and manufacturing as well as end users and many factors to be taken into account (McCann, Bryson 2017). In addition, the compatibility of wearable technology tools with other tools containing user data will be an important feature of this technology. The software aspects of wearable technologies will be as important as their hardware, as healthcare providers, companies and other stakeholders will need to extract and interpret data from these tools. Companies that help them use data to improve their health will be valued by consumers (PWC Health Research Institute 2014a).
In the light of all these evaluations, it can be said that wearable technology and its applications should have the following features:
- It should be easy to understand in order to benefit the user.
- It must be integrated with the life of the user and the health service provided
- It should be compatible and interoperable with other tools and applications
- It should allow data sharing according to the user's preference, be social
- It should be attractive and encouraging to use
- Result for users, healthcare providers and other stakeholders
should be focused.
Ananthanarayan S. and Siek K. A. (2012) Persuasive Wearable Technology Design for Health and Wellness. 6th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth) and Workshops, USA.
Bushko R. G. (2005) Studies in health technology and informatics. Future of intelligent and extelligent health environment. IOS Press, Amsterdam.
Graham C. (2020) Study: Wearable Technology & Preventative Healthcare. http://technologyadvice.com/medical/blog/study-wearable-technology-preventative- healthcare/
Hacettepe Saglık IIdaresi Dergisi (2016) Quantified Self and Wearable Technology in Healthcare: Possible Benefits, Current Situation and Suggestions
Leonhardt S. (2006) Personal Healthcare Devices. In Mukherjee et al. (eds.) Am I ware Hardware Technology Drivers of Ambient Intelligence Philips Research Book Series Volume 5 pp: 349-370. Springer, Netharlands.
Lymberis A. and Dittmar A. (2007) Advanced Wearable Health Systems and Applications Research and Development Efforts in the European Union. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine 26(3): 29-33.
McCann J. and Bryson D. (2017) Smart clothes and wearable technology. CRC Press LLC, USA.
Orange Healthcare (2019) Wearable Tech Boom in Healthcare. http://healthcare.orange.com/eng/news/latests-news/2014/infographic-wearable-tech- boom-in-healthcare
Swan M. (2013) The Quantified Self: Fundamental Disruption in Big Data Science and Biological Discovery. Big Data 1(2): 85-99