Received date: January 27, 2016; Accepted date: February 24, 2016; Published date: February 28, 2016
Citation: Tambo E, Madjou G, Ngogang JY (2016) Wearable Sensors and Healthcare Informatics Solutions in Non-Communicable Diseases (Ncds) Prevention and Management in Africa. J Health Med Inform 7:218. doi:10.4172/2157-7420.1000218
Copyright: © 2016 Tambo E, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Visit for more related articles at Journal of Health & Medical Informatics
Safe and cost-effective wearable sensors and healthcare informatics solutions hold great promises and opportunities in tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) burden. This paper highlights the future opportunities of wearable sensors and healthcare informatics consolidation platforms implementation, uptake capabilities and needs in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and management in Africa. Establishing digital wearable technology policy and frameworks requires robust political commitment and financial investment in research and development towards real time, safe and effective prevention and management programs and tools. Leveraging on it added-value in strengthening health systems inefficiencies and low-cost care delivery is imperative in promoting predictive and preventive lifestyle mitigation an adaptation solutions to millions at risk or suffering from chronic illnesses. Also, in promoting participatory patient- professionals-health providers’ relationship and cooperation, monitoring and tracking of medication adherence to pathophysiological disease progression. Furthermore, digital wearable sensors offer another opportunity in generating data, information and knowledge in promoting evidence- based and practical lifestyle adaptations and other health / fitness mitigation programs in revamping the rising NCDs challenges in most vulnerable populations in Afri
There is an unprecedented rising in the trend in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or chronic diseases public health burden in Africa. These diseases are progressive and long-lasting genetic and environmental associated conditions or disorders that can be better prevented; but only controlled and managed in most vulnerable populations over time and space [1,2]. Smart wearable technology and sensors hold great promises in prognosis, prevention, care delivery and fitness paradigm shift. These digital wearable products such as smartphone, smart watch, implant or adhesive patch and eCare can be used for disease specific condition(s) and function(s) [1-3]. The implementation of digital health and wearable biomarkers in NCDs risk factors prevention, monitoring and management are needed in promoting cultural uptake, lifestyle adaptations and positive behavioural changes [1-5]. The paper highlights the future opportunities of wearable sensors and healthcare informatics consolidation platforms, uptake capabilities and needs solutions, adoption and implementation in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and management in Africa.
We assessed exiting knowledge on the awareness and usefulness of wearable sensors and healthcare informatics technology applications and opportunities in tackling the growing NCDs burden in Africa . It is worth noting that the digital wearable ecosystems and components represent multifaceted technology, programs and tools include technological infrastructure (e.g.: hardware, software), human resources capacity development, interoperability and networking of firms, data security and big data mining, cloud storage, digital health information marketing and analysis [1,3-5]. Moreover, explore data tracking, monitoring and evaluation bodily data and information, fitness and health cost effective in providing potential multifaceted packages and interventions.
Furthermore, digital wearable technology and devices promote new practical developer-patient-provider partnerships and opportunities, health, media and technology interoperability platforms. Previous technological breakthrough, lessons learnt and shared expertise in these new interoperability partnerships, coordination and supervision is crucial in promoting mutual dialogue and communication, in yielding more smart investments opportunities and benefits [1,2,5,6]. Nevertheless, further research is needed in understanding individualhealth professional-care provider needs, health, fitness and disease priorities for self-improvement and entertainment, promoting prescription and medication adherence and compliance to healthy lifestyle commitment and resilience [1,3].
Scaling up wearable technology and devices awareness and literacy is needed in increasing it wider acceptability, uptake and utilization require amongst vulnerable populations worldwide. Its usefulness in prognostics, prevention, management and monitoring of obesity related cardiovascular diseases (e.g.: diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart diseases, Parkinson, kidney failure, arthritis, ageing, etc…) asthma attacks and other chronic condition in geriatric populations have been documented [1-5]. Although, further research is needed in Africa population. Interestingly, compared to other developed countries, Africa is experiencing a significant increasing rate of smartphones users; and the digital wearable sensors utilization in NCDs risk factors mitigation and other fitness programs are promising for telecommunications, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals industries [1,2,4,6]. For example, currently the global wearable health and medical biomarkers served about 5 million patients or users in heart rate and pulse to glucose disorders monitoring and management. It is expected to reach $ 5.8 billion in 2019 from $ 2 billion U.S. Dollars in 2012 [5,6]. However, more careful clinical trials, monitoring and validation of available wearable fitness and medical devices are needed in bridging the gaps between patient, clinical health information and health professionals [7-9].
Smart digital wearable devices have the capacities to measure their remote digital and wireless home-care, work or private and public hospital-based or clinic health service delivery. Also, to monitor and track activity rates and diet in enhancing lifestyle adaptation and quality outcomes of people living with chronic illnesses [1,2]. Moreover, it can generate evidence data to inform self-patient or vulnerable NCDs group prevention and control mitigation measures of their illness. Timely participatory and management capacity patientprofessionals- providers is needed to ensure adequate patient selfeducation, empowerment, while sharing lessons and experiences of wearable diagnostics and therapeutics tools in scaling up care delivery and [1,3,4]. Importantly, health professionals and providers can monitor and communicate with patients remotely in ensuring medication adherence and compliance, counseling delivering toward quality personalized care and healthy lifestyle adaptations. Efforts in reducing the costs of care, improving the quality of care outcomes can be enhanced by applications of wearable sensors as health and medical service resources in different settings.
The value of societal and health transformation and empowerment of wearable sensors and health informatics is multifaceted. These include patient learning and literacy, self-awareness, health alertness and monitoring, research and development on low cost and user friendly wearable in improving health, fitness, and guiding national policy and economic prosperity [1,4]. It also provides real time and concrete solutions that are workable in practice and acceptable for lifestyle mitigation and behavioural changes. This is crucial in addressing the rising NCDs public health challenges (e.g.: obesity, emphysema, diabetes, cancer, congestive heart failure, etc…), health transition and sustainable monitoring and evaluation of therapeutics adherence and response plans, geriatric health and innovations in immunization programs [1,2,4].
African governments and stakeholders have the opportunities to leverage on these cutting-edge technological achievements in lowering the healthcare service delivery cost and optimizing health system performance, promoting actionable data solutions in predictive and preventive medicine is imperative [1,4-7]. Ultimately, the future digital wearable technology and devices stakeholders require greater political commitment and financial investment in developing and integrating flexible, safe and cost-effective digital wearable products programmatic plans and programs [5,8,10].
Although, the future of digital wearable technology and sensors in strengthening health systems paradigm shift is brighter, there is a need to fostering innovative research and development (R&D) [8,9,11]. Harnessing robust and innovative digital wearable technology safety and effectiveness underscore the opportunities and benefits in saving millions of people at risk or suffering from chronic illnesses [1,4,5,8]. However, adoption and implementation issues in health systems such as patient security, privacy, individual consent, data-sharing and access, fragmented workflows, interoperability policy and regulations, digital buy-in and suboptimal approaches [5-7,10,11].
Ultimately, the paper calls for more commitment and investment in digital wearable products research and development in preventing, monitoring and tracking the rising NCDs burden in Africa. Also, we advocate for the urgent need to generate wearable technology and sensors contextual needs, valuable and effective information and knowledge, in guiding evidence-based NCDs lifestyle adaptations and quality care outcomes of vulnerable groups [12-15]. The value of wearable database translation is capital in improving proactive health programming and lifestyle adaptations, self to community guidelines, programs and interventions. Wearable safety, effectiveness and best practices are paramount in fostering population awareness and uptake in accelerating precision care. Enhanced participatory and cooperation patient-professionals-providers health is critical in fighting the increasing NCDs threat and burden in most vulnerable populations in Africa and worldwide [16-21].
ET conceived the idea, built the conceptual framework. ET and GM conducted the literature screening and synthesis of primary information. ET analyzed and wrote the draft of the manuscript. ET, GM and JYN provided additional insights. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.