Within the past several years, wearables have become all the rage for adults seeking more control over their health care and those who are fitness buffs looking for a way to track their progress. However, many of these very same people are parents and what they probably haven’t come to realize just yet is that there are wearables for kids too! Introducing health informatics for kids.
What’s All the Excitement over Health Informatics and Wearables?
If you look at why healthcare providers around the country are so enthused about wearables for adults, you will understand what all the excitement is at major schools like the University of Illinois that offers a masters degree in computer science health care. That is to say, health care informatics. By using technology as a means to follow patients at home, this information can be transmitted to their provider who will collect, analyze and store the data that has been transmitted. If there are any red flags the patient will be called in to be seen. Now then, just think what this means for use in children with any number of childhood diseases and conditions?
Why Health Informatics for Kids Is an Important Industry
Take, for example, juvenile diabetes. Parents always fear that their child, when not at home and under close supervision, could go into insulin shock if not watched closely. Is the teacher at school really paying attention to what that primary student is eating or drinking? Does the babysitter administer insulin in time and at the right dosages? With wearables such as DIDGET, a gadget that monitors blood glucose, parents can be assured that if levels reach warning zones, an alarm will be sounded.
Kids earn reward points for testing their levels and to date, DIDGET is getting amazing reviews. As the combined efforts of Bayer (best known as the aspirin / pharmaceutical giant) and Nintendo, kids can either use points earned to receive new gifts or new levels on games they are playing. DIDGET is every parent’s dream when their child has diabetes and they can’t be with them at all hours of the day.
Obesity in Children on the Rise
Childhood obesity is a very real concern and since there are so many overweight children, with activity trackers and wearables that encourage them to exercise more, it is hoped that some of the problem can be alleviated. Two wearables of note are I Heart Jellyfish and Power Key by IBitz that help track a child’s activity. The first is triggered by the child’s heart rate and the second uses vitals to encourage kids to walk, run and play more. The wearable does track vital signs to show how much activity a child is engaged it but also presents the child (and the entire family!) the opportunity to play games more – games that are part of the system.
While health informatics made possible by wearables is all the rage in adults, it is a growing market for parents of school age children. Some devices can even be used on much younger kids but the bottom line is that technology is increasingly able to warn of danger zones so as to prevent catastrophic episodes in children. Imagine the potential to eliminate SIDS by using a wearable that sounds an alarm the moment a child’s respirations slow or cease? There isn’t just one wearable you should know about but many, many if you are a parent. Thankfully experts like those produced by UIC in the masters program are helping keep our kids safe with health informatics. Kudos to the pros!