The online news service Medical News Today posted “Could wearable biosensors become part of drug rehab programs?” on 6-27-16. The article reviews a recently published research study that found that wristband sensors provide helpful information about patients receiving opioid pain treatment in an ER. The devices provided information about the patient’s response to the opioid medication in real time, and also could be used to track both medication compliance and treatment response in the community.
The article concludes, “Biosensors could help monitor developing opioid tolerance and identify people who are at risk for substance abuse or addiction. They could also be applied to opioid addicts in rehabilitation to detect whether they are relapsing. Such relapse data can either be reviewed retrospectively or transmitted wirelessly to trigger an intervention (for example to alert a family member or a community support system).”
mhconcierge’s take: some may find this use of technology to be too intrusive, too much like “big brother is watching,” but it does have some interesting potential to help a complex and challenging group of patients. Wristband sensors also could provide helpful information about the patient’s compliance with activity/exercise recommendations – assuming they do not attach it to the family dog, as some people being monitored (such as for corporate activity competitions).