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Wearable Devices: Implications for Precision Medicine and the Future of Health Care.

Annual Review of Medicine 2023 November 21
Wearable devices are integrated analytical units equipped with sensitive physical, chemical, and biological sensors capable of noninvasive and continuous monitoring of vital physiological parameters. Recent advances in disciplines including electronics, computation, and material science have resulted in affordable and highly sensitive wearable devices that are routinely used for tracking and managing health and well-being. Combined with longitudinal monitoring of physiological parameters, wearables are poised to transform the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment/management of a range of clinical conditions. Smartwatches are the most commonly used wearable devices and have already demonstrated valuable biomedical potential in detecting clinical conditions such as arrhythmias, Lyme disease, inflammation, and, more recently, COVID-19 infection. Despite significant clinical promise shown in research settings, there remain major hurdles in translating the medical uses of wearables to the clinic. There is a clear need for more effective collaboration among stakeholders, including users, data scientists, clinicians, payers, and governments, to improve device security, user privacy, data standardization, regulatory approval, and clinical validity. This review examines the potential of wearables to offer affordable and reliable measures of physiological status that are on par with FDA-approved specialized medical devices. We briefly examine studies where wearables proved critical for the early detection of acute and chronic clinical conditions with a particular focus on cardiovascular disease, viral infections, and mental health. Finally, we discuss current obstacles to the clinical implementation of wearables and provide perspectives on their potential to deliver increasingly personalized proactive health care across a wide variety of conditions. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Medicine , Volume 75 is January 2024. Please see https://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

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