• Irma Rastegayeva

The role of Wearables & Medical Devices during COVID-19 and beyond

Updated: Jul 16

On July 7, 2020 , Evan Kirstel and I hosted a Twitter Chat for one of our amazing clients, 3M Healthcare.



Four distinguished experts from 3M joined the #3Mmedtech chat:






On the chat, we discussed the following topics:


T1: What role do wearables play in COVID-19?


T2: Why do microfluidics matter during COVID-19?


T3: How does COVID-19 impact the medical device space?


T4: Why is antibody testing relevant right now?


T5: What impact do you see COVID-19 recovery having on MedTech innovation?


T6: Given all we’ve discussed, what are your predictions for the future?


The conversation around these topics was amazing! The 190+ participants across 1K+ tweets generated 72.8+ Million impressions.



Here are some of the notable responses to the Twitter Chat questions.

T1: What role do wearables play in COVID-19?


3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

We’ll see more wearables in workplaces. Beyond health, employers want to track the proximity of employees to each other in order to ensure safety for social distancing. As protocols change, wearables will help.


Chad Reed @Reeder086

Now more than ever, we need wearables to relay important information to patients and providers. Wearables keep patients and providers connected and help them make health decisions based on data, even when they’re apart.


Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

Wearable technology takes tracking to the next level. Given social distancing guidelines, patients can still track their health status and share results without physically going to the doctor’s office.


Del Lawson @DelLawson4

We’re in a global pandemic. It’s critical for patients, especially those with chronic and underlying conditions, to access health data quickly. Wearables give insight into health status, so patients can protect themselves.


Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr Wearables are doing what they do best: allowing individuals to monitor their health autonomously. Patients don’t need the provider’s office to get the information they need. It’s especially critical during office closures.


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

In a short period of time, #COVID19 has altered our collective & individual behaviour, as well as the course of #business & economy. Shutdowns, reopenings, #SocialDistancing, #CovidTracker #CovidTesting - we need new tools for these new challenges! [see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

#Wearables like Fitbit and Oura can detect #coronavirus symptoms, new research shows. Fitbit, along with Apple, is also collaborating with the Stanford #Healthcare Innovation Lab on its COVID-19 Wearables Study. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

#Wearables as an early warning system for #InfectiousDisease? The possibility is gaining traction for #COVID. [read ARTICLE ~ see post]



T2: Why do microfluidics matter during COVID-19?

3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology is made possible by microfluidics, which, in turn, comprise #COVID19 tests. LOC offers specific answers and insights – compared to complex data from computers and competing technologies.

Chad Reed @Reeder086

Microfluidics make the magic happen. In other words, they’re the technologies that allow us to get the answers we need without complex, in-office testing.


Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

Generally, microfluidics are non-invasive. You can get the answers you need with a tiny blood sample, for example. This is critical when aerosolized matter and other particles put patients and providers at risk of transmitting the virus.


Del Lawson @DelLawson4

We’ve seen so many advancements in microfluidics over the past few years, it’s almost as if we were preparing for this moment. The ability to gain immediate insights without traditional testing methods is no longer just a nice-to-have.

Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr

Microfluidics have never been more important. You’re now seeing antibody testing for COVID-19 from companies like @QuestDX. Blood-on-a-strip is crucial.


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Today I learned a new word: Microfluidics refers to the behaviour, precise control, and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small scale. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

Among other uses, #microfluidic devices matter for point-of-care #COVIDー19#diagnostics. Digital issue of @DesignWorld features @3MHealthCare: Bringing point-of-care tests from #lab to life by David Franta & Jake Eldridge. [read ARTICLE ~ see post]


Additional resources on microfluidics


T3: How does COVID-19 impact the medical device space?

3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

More medical devices are being used to test for COVID19. It amplifies the importance of continued research and development in the medical device design and science.


Chad Reed @Reeder086

COVID19 takes testing and tracking to a whole new level. In the future, we’ll need more functions, like antibody testing, to expand and evolve.

Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

According to @CDCgov, serologic assays for SARS-CoV-2 are now widely available. The specificity of assays in medical devices is crucial and will continue to be.

Del Lawson @DelLawson4

Once again, we’re forced to think about cost. Given the global nature of the pandemic, accessibility is key. How can we make more testing devices for less?


Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr

Supply and demand are huge. The need for testing devices is growing exponentially. Med device companies are scaling production and looking for ways to be more efficient.


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Within the medical device space, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure to produce devices like ventilators and diagnostic tests at a record pace. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

Shortages of #MedicalDevices like ventilators & even basic #PPE uncovered vulnerabilities in the global #SupplyChainforced & forced a rethink in how devices & parts are manufactured. [read ARTICLE ~ see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, medical device companies are finding it difficult to make informed decisions about their products, supply chains, and regulatory obligations in the midst of uncertainty. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

The global scale of #COVID19#pandemic brought the need for scalable #coronavirus testing & other #COVIDー19 solutions into focus. @3MHealthCare is up for the challenge! [see post]


Additional resources on medical device design and development


T4: Why is antibody testing relevant right now?


3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

Antibodies are powerful therapies. They’re the body’s own superpowers. Any way we can test for and mimic antibodies helps us potentially identify and treat disease, respectively.

Chad Reed@Reeder086

Antibody testing helps us determine who has ever been infected with the virus. That’s super helpful information, especially when we want to look back and study its spread.

Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

Antibodies are some of the most effective therapies to fight infection and disease. They’re the body’s natural defense. Researchers will continue to look for antibodies that can help fight #COVID19.

Del Lawson @DelLawson4

Many people with #COVID19 are asymptomatic. They’ll never show signs of the virus. An antibody test can provide clarity and give accurate insight into who has it.

Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr

High test volumes, short turnaround times, 100 percent accuracy. That’s what we’re aiming for with antibody tests. That’s why well-designed diagnostic tests with smart microfluidics matter.


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Perhaps those with antibodies could be given “immunity passports,” allowing #healthcareworkers to return to the front lines, and a subset of the population to reopen the economy faster. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

While active #COVID19 testing capacity is still lagging in the US, #antibody testing could identify individuals & populations that had #Coronavirus in the past - important for #publichealth & #coronavirus planning. [see post]


Additional resources on antibody testing


T5: What impact do you see COVID-19 recovery having on MedTech innovation?


3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

We’ll see an uptick in testing as people return to work. Onsite labs and diagnostics will be critical for employers and employees who desire to feel safe and secure.


Chad Reed@Reeder086

More med device companies will be committed to developing technologies that test for COVID-19 and other viruses.

Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

Right now, most point-of-care diagnostics test for one specific condition. I think we’ll see those diagnostics test for multiple conditions.

Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr

We’ll continue to find new ways to test. Interstitial fluid, for example, may be a powerful indicator of heart failure. We’ll go beyond blood and other go-to methods of testing.

Del Lawson @DelLawson4

We’ll see wearables and sensors permeating hospitals. These devices can monitor patient progress and help clinicians prioritize and triage from a safe distance.


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

The global innovation “engine” has experienced disruption as scientists adjust to remote work environments and lab capacity is reduced. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

The #COVID19 crisis has already spurred innovation in #MedTech & #healthcare. #PPE, ventilator adaptations for multiple #patients, #3Dprinting#MedDevice parts & so much more. [see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Clinical trials are also being severely affected with disruptions in both new enrollment and in keeping existing patients on therapies. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

The #MedTech innovation will continue for years to come, while #COVID19 is here & beyond, as people continue to have life-long effects from #SARSCoV2 & as our behaviour permanently shifts to need for more personal protection. [see post]



T6: Given all we’ve discussed, what are your predictions for the future?


3M Healthcare @3MHealthCare

We’ll see wearables and microfluidic devices with expanded capabilities. Whether it’s social distance tracking or on-demand results for global viruses, these technologies will transform how we think about health.


Chad Reed@Reeder086

The ability to self-diagnose from home will be crucial. Imagine if we had a way to test for #COVID19 from the couch? I think we’ll see more at-home diagnostics entering the market.

Tony Kaufman @medtechanswers

In recent years, #telehealth and #telemedicine have grown exponentially. Wearables are an extension of this trend. They’ll continue to make it possible for patients and providers to share key health information virtually.

Dan Durenberger @dandrnbrgr

I think point of care diagnostics will continue to be evolve. They empower us to get immediate results, which, during a pandemic, is critical. It’s all about minimizing the wait. #3Mmedtech

Del Lawson @DelLawson4

Med device companies will continue to innovate. The pandemic has really illuminated the importance of this space, and I believe it will only continue to grow.


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

We’ll see wearables and microfluidic devices with expanded capabilities. Whether it’s social distance tracking or on-demand results for global viruses, these technologies will transform how we think about health. [see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

More medical devices are being used to test for #COVID19. It amplifies the importance of continued research and development in the medical device design and science.


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

The meteoric #telemedicine rise will be propelled even further by #wearables & #IoT devices for #diagnostics & #RemotePatientMonitoring towards more encompassing #telehealth, including #telemonitoring. [see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Personalization: From wedding rings to Invisalign, objects worn on the body 24-7 will become a highly personal thing! [see post]


Evan Kirstel @EvanKirstel

Future #wearables could be more hidden by adding a thin film inside your favorite jewelry to measure biometric data, activity levels and even let you know when you've been typing at a keyboard too long. [see post]


Irma Rastegayeva @IrmaRaste

Increasing use of #wearable #sensors will empower #patients to gain deeper insights into their #health & #wellbeing. #Wearables can enable shift from #BigData to more individually actionable #SmallData. [see post]


eViRa Health @eViRaHealth

#Patients & #caregivers are expecting more out of their #wearable #medicaldevices. For successful #design of your next #wearables project, consider these requirements from @3M @3MHealthCare expert @DelLawson4. [read ARTICLE ~ see post]



You can see additional insights from the many participants in this discussion in the Twitter Chat transcript compiled by Symplur, social media analytics and insights platform exclusively for healthcare (click the document for PDF download):

#3Mmedtech Healthcare Social Media Trans

For more information on the important work of 3M Healthcare, including Wearables, Microfluidics, Medical Device Construction, Biopharmaceutical Purification and more, please visit their website: 3M.com/MedTech.


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