Could Your Apple Watch Detect a Heart Condition?

Could your Apple Watch someday end up saving your life? If the initial results of Apple’s latest venture are a success, that could very well be the case. As CNBC first reported, Apple will soon begin the process of testing to determine whether its signature watch might be able to detect certain cardiac conditions. Working with researchers at Stanford and in partnership with telemedicine company American Well, the company is attempting to see whether the watch’s heart rate monitor could also pick up on heart arrhythmias.

The central goal of the study is to figure out whether the device’s monitor could pick up on cardiac conditions like atrial fibrillation that don’t always present with clear symptoms; patients could then seek efficient treatment from their health care providers. “Atrial fibrillation is a common rhythm disorder and knowing someone has it is medically useful because those people might need specific treatments,” Bob Wachter, who chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, explained to CNBC. While, per CNBC, Apple has yet to provide much in the way of specific details on the project, CEO Tim Cook did note in a recent Fortune interview that the company is “extremely interested” in “performing some measurements of your health that people were not measuring, at least continually,” including heart-related measures.

This latest venture, of course, is far from being Apple’s first venture into the world of health care. As we noted earlier this summer, the company has been working to develop new iPhone tools for the coordination of clinical health data. The ability to coordinate clinical health data in a centralized location would take the iPhone beyond the capacity of its current health-related features. While its “Health Kit” currently enables patients to track everything from physical activity to sleep, and even allows them to input and track vital signs like blood pressure and blood glucose (usually measured through recommended compatible apps), the new data features would take steps toward interoperability—long an elusive goal for many in the health care industry—by helping patients to share their health information among their various doctors and clinics, as is most people’s preference.

Click here to read the article from CNBC on the new Apple Watch project.


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