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Debate over medical grade vs consumer wearables

Wearable devices are driving a revolution in the medical space but the key is accurate data, which means medical grade devices, a digital health conference has heard.

Founder and CEO of Melbourne-based technology company dorsaVi Andrew Ronchi told The Digital Health Show Conference in Sydney on Friday that wearables were changing healthcare largely because consumers were calling for it.

Andrew-Ronchi

Andrew Ronchi

Mr Ronchi, a physiotherapist with a PhD in Computer and Systems Engineering, and his organisation  have developed a suite of wearable sensor technologies to measure and interpret human movement for the rehabilitation, occupational health and safety and elite sports markets.

Technology miniaturisation, society’s insatiable thirst for data, remote monitoring, real time feedback, big data, intelligent consumers and an ageing population are the main drivers for the human movement and wearables revolution, he said.

However, medical-grade wearables, which needed to go through a lengthy and complex approval processes such as the TGA in Australia and FDA in the United States, were very different to consumer wearables that required no such thing, Mr Ronchi told delegates.

Speaking with Technology Review ahead of his presentation, Mr Ronchi said in his opinion, the touch point for wearables in healthcare was about starting with accurate data then using that data to better manage people.

“If you start with accurate data, firstly, your diagnostic impression of where that person is at and their condition is more accurate,” Mr Ronchi told Technology Review.

“Secondly, you are able to share that information with them and the technology is allowing you to share that information in a live format so you are able to interact with them away from the clinic.”

To be successful, Mr Ronchi said the quality of the data and the data gathering device, was paramount. He said:

“If you are trying to guide someone’s health with inaccurate data then I think that is a recipe for disaster. You must start with accurate information if you’re going to guide them with health.”

dorsaVi’s sensor-based technology solutions are registered and approved for use in Australia, the United States, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Canada, and have also been the subject of a clinical trial.

“We have worked really closely with the FDA in the US. That takes you a couple of years to make sure your technology and the data you capture and the way you capture it and the way you deliver it all stacks up in line with best medical practice. It is really important part of medicine.”

Australian Ageing Agenda and Technology Review is a media partner for The Digital Health Show.

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