A story at Medgadget presages an issue that is going to be of increasing concern for health and medical wearable devices.
It appears that some approved devices now on the market are not as accurate in detecting physical events as initial testing had indicated. FDA approval was granted based on study test results, but now results of studies done on the devices in actual use are falling short of the clinical data results.
There could be a number of reasons for this – device-related, user-related, or other. But regardless, the accuracy of these devices is now in question.
Accuracy has long been an issue for wearable devices. Obtaining reliable biometric signal reading through the skin is problematic. It’s one reason why wearable devices have been focused mostly on the consumer market to date. When you are measuring heart rate for the purpose of improving your race performance, being off by ten percent isn’t critical. In a medical setting however, it could very well be.
I believe we will be seeing increased efforts being made to improve on-body sensor accuracy. Along with that, designers will be seeking ways to better couple devices to the body to get reliable signal data from a challenging source. All in all, there is going to be more scrutiny on medical wearables, and it will be more difficult to prove that a device is accurate enough to be used for medically-related purposes.