Appl Clin Inform 2016; 07(03): 850-869
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2016-03-R-0042
Schattauer GmbH

Healthcare Applications of Smart Watches

A Systematic Review
Tsung-Chien Lu
1   Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2   Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Chia-Ming Fu
1   Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Matthew Huei-Ming Ma
1   Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Cheng-Chung Fang
1   Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Anne M. Turner
2   Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
3   Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
› Author Affiliations
The authors would like to thank Beryl Schulman, PhD, Jean O. Taylor, PhD, and Kristin Dew, MS for their assisting with preparation of the manuscript and critical review.
Further Information

Publication History

received: 23 March 2016

accepted: 02 August 2016

Publication Date:
19 December 2017 (online)



The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize research studies involving the use of smart watch devices for healthcare.

Materials and Methods

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was chosen as the systematic review methodology. We searched PubMed, CINAHL Plus, EMBASE, ACM, and IEEE Xplore. In order to include ongoing clinical trials, we also searched Two investigators evaluated the retrieved articles for inclusion. Discrepancies between investigators regarding article inclusion and extracted data were resolved through team discussion.


356 articles were screened and 24 were selected for review. The most common publication venue was in conference proceedings (13, 54%). The majority of studies were published or presented in 2015 (19, 79%). We identified two registered clinical trials underway. A large proportion of the identified studies focused on applications involving health monitoring for the elderly (6, 25%). Five studies focused on patients with Parkinson’s disease and one on cardiac arrest. There were no studies which reported use of usability testing before implementation.


Most of the reviewed studies focused on the chronically ill elderly. There was a lack of detailed description of user-centered design or usability testing before implementation. Based on our review, the most commonly used platform in healthcare research was that of the Android Wear. The clinical application of smart watches as assistive devices deserves further attention.


Smart watches are unobtrusive and easy to wear. While smart watch technology supplied with biosensors has potential to be useful in a variety of healthcare applications, rigorous research with their use in clinical settings is needed.

Citation: Lu T-C, Fu C-M, Ma M H-M, Fang C-C, Turner AM. Healthcare applications of smart watches: A systematic review.

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