The rise of stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices
Healthcare is undergoing a transformative shift with the rise of stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices.
These innovative data-collecting marvels, such as continuous glucose monitoring devices and cardiac monitoring devices, offer a new level of convenience and real-time insights into our health status and well-being. This article by Brad Hull, Printed Electronics Solutions – Business Unit Director, Tapecon, explores the capabilities required, the diverse application areas, and the market trends that are driving the growth of this groundbreaking technology.
Stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices with flexible hybrid electronics are finding applications in a variety of areas within the life sciences and healthcare industry. For instance, continuous glucose monitoring devices enable individuals with diabetes to track their glucose levels throughout the day, promoting effective management of this chronic disease. Cardiac monitoring devices help monitor heart rate, heart rhythm, and other cardiac parameters, aiding in the detection and prevention of adverse cardiovascular conditions. These devices exemplify the potential of stick-to-skin wearables to provide continuous, non-invasive monitoring for a wide range of healthcare needs.
The production of stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices requires a manufacturing partner with a very unique set of capabilities. Flexible circuit fabrication is essential but ideally having the abilities to both advance TRL and MRL prototyping and proof of concept creation, as well as fully scaled roll-to-roll long-run manufacturing is the very best of both worlds. Flexible hybrid electronics enables the creation of thin, conformable hardware containing both printed electronics and traditional IC all on flexible substrates. Sensor integration expertise is also crucial for seamlessly incorporating sensors, such as biosensors, thermistors, or electrodes, into on-body compatible (safe, medically approved FDA and/or EMA) materials resulting in devices that are comfortable, lightweight, and conformable to the body. Additionally, knowledge of packaging techniques, wireless connectivity, and quality control and testing are vital to producing reliable and effective stick-to-skin wearables.
The need for stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices is on the rise driven in part by sharp demand for remote healthcare monitoring. These, non- invasive, comfortable wearables allow individuals and their caregivers to monitor their health conditions from the privacy and comfort of their homes. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and the desire to be proactive in monitoring and maintaining a heathy lifestyle at any age necessitates solutions that provide continuous, remote monitoring, making stick-to-skin wearables a valuable asset. Aging populations in particular seek healthcare solutions that support independent living, especially when family members and loved ones don’t live nearby. This makes FHE wearables indispensable for ensuring the well-being of older adults. Technological advancements, wellness and fitness tracking trends, and integration with digital health ecosystems are further propelling adoption.
Forecasted market growth
Over the next 5-10yrs the market for stick-to-skin wearable monitoring devices is poised for significant growth. Market research reports project the industry will experience very robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) averaging 12-16% during this period. Contributing factors include increasing awareness of wearable technologies, advancements in sensor technologies, rising healthcare expenditures, and supportive government initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of remote monitoring solutions, further driving the market growth of stick-to-skin electronics-based wearables. Stick-to-skin wearable monitoring is revolutionising healthcare by offering continuous, non-invasive monitoring capabilities. With their diverse applications in chronic disease management and general wellness tracking, wearables empower individuals to actively monitor their health and make informed decisions. On-going technological advancements in this field will play a pivotal role in transforming healthcare delivery and improving patient outcomes.