The Growing Use of Smart Thermometers and Other Smart Devices

From watches to thermometers, more Americans are turning to smart devices to improve their health. Smart infusion pumps can deliver medication to you or your loved ones. Features we love in our smart phones we may embrace more readily in our search for solutions to issues such as weight loss, heart monitoring, or blood sugar management. What are the pros and cons of these smart devices?

On the upside, smart thermometers that send your temperature to a national database can alert doctors to an early flu season. You can also share your medical history with your primary care physician. One recent study found smart thermometers can offer insight into flu trends three weeks in advance of the traditional in-office temperature check that might indicate you have the flu.

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first pump that could read blood glucose and, from that reading, adjust the insulin dose in type 1 diabetics. Specialists hailed this first pump as “an artificial pancreas.” However, doctors warn patients not to rely too heavily on the pump. User intervention is still critical in insulin management.

Even medical devices such as smart watches have downsides. From data breaches to device overreliance, many Americans believe smart devices need more safeguards. As one of the agencies that approves and oversees smart devices, the FDA struggles to keep up with smart device innovation. Europe has a faster approval process, so many medical designers seek approval there first.

Would you wear a smart device to check or enhance your health? How comfortable are you with the privacy aspect? Is your primary care physician equipped to help check the data when needed? Consider some of these questions when adopting a smart medical device as part of your health routine.