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The Next New Thing in Medical Devices: Biowearables

Healthcare industry hopes biowearable devices like Abbott’s Lingo trigger better patient-physician conversations about health. 

By Bruce Jepsen

The next evolution in medical devices to help patients adhere to physician orders are on the near horizon.

Abbott Laboratories wearables with a biosensor are performing well with consumers in the United Kingdom, a test market that precedes an eventual U.S. regulatory filing and possible 2024 approval for these devices known as “biowearables.

Abbott Chief Executive Robert B. Ford said he sees “a world where we, as consumers, can better speak the language of our bodies in a way we can understand without needing to go to medical school.”

For physicians, the rise in biowearables is expected to mean more meaningful conversations with patients. And information will come via the biowearables from patients that will reach physicians and other medical care providers in real time. Thus, the quick access to data from the patient could also minimize errors.

“It allows us to have better conversations about our health with each other and with our doctors—creating a true health care system rather than the ‘sick care’ system we have today,” Ford said in a keynote speech in October at the annual HLTH 2023 conference in Las Vegas. “The potential for this future—one where our body’s information is clear and understandable and where we can make better informed decisions at our finger tips . . . and a future that pairs health with technology to put us all in greater control—that future is here.”

North Chicago-based Abbott, which already has a top-selling continuous glucose monitor for diabetes management known as Libre that generates more than $4 billion in sales annually, is developing a new line of biowearables known as Lingo that tracks glucose levels, ketones and lactate.

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