Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 02, 2014

Samsung Plans Health-Related Event

As word begins to emerge about the role that consumer devices can play in the healthcare industry on most every level - from the preventative to the post-recuperative, more and more specific developments are emerging in this growing field. Samsung said it is setting up for a special event later this month that focuses on its developments in the healthcare sector.

The invitations to the event are said to describe, “a new conversation around health...” Samsung is keeping comparatively mum on just what topics will be represented but has already been seen making some inroads into the healthcare market, particularly represented by its S Health mobile app that offers a rather complete fitness tracking tool, encompassing diet and exercise data.

Companies are starting to look beyond the preventative measures of helping with diet and exercise and are in turn looking to more recuperative and even therapeutic applications for devices.

For instance, both Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone and a line of wearable devices from the company are all said to include heart rate sensors, which could be a big help in terms of several healthcare applications. But this is just the start; back in February, Samsung brought out the S Health software development kit (SDK), a development which would basically open the floodgates to outside developers to bring in new potential applications for use with S Health. However, this SDK is still in beta, and those who want in have to file partnership requests.

Not lost on the community at large, meanwhile, is the note that Apple's own Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event is to follow Samsung's slated event by one week, and already some are expecting healthcare-related announcements to come out of that event. This idea gets extra credence from the fact that Apple was reportedly seen talking to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not so long ago about healthcare-related developments for its device line. Further developments have actually emerged in the field of mobile and healthcare combined; Vodafone and drugmaker AstraZeneca reportedly got together back in March to talk about mobile-based cardiovascular health services.

Of course, any healthcare research beyond the preventative needs to be approved by various regulatory agencies, at least in the United States, so development is likely to be slow and largely theoretical for some time to come. Still, though, the idea of mobile devices—particularly wearables—is really nothing new in the healthcare field. We've seen fitness trackers before in huge numbers, and activity is regarded as one of the biggest prevention measures of a variety of healthcare issues. But going beyond that, however, requires some regulation, and that's likely to make for slow development. Still, it's an excellent idea; most mobile devices—including wearable devices—are on hand at all times anyway, so if users have the device near to hand, it's more likely to be used. That means more data can be gathered, more studies can be done, and more advances in healthcare in general can be derived. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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