A heart study to identify irregular heart rhythms using the Apple Watch has been launched by Apple and Stanford Medical Center. Stanford will use the data to examine how rate sensors and similar technologies can identify heart issues.
This heart study is the first of its kind, according to Apple, but not the first to use the Apple Watch to gather data. More than 500 researchers have used the company’s ResearchKit and CareKit platforms for studies involving more than 3 million people.
Heart: Is Apple Going Into Healthcare?
Apple may be diversifying into healthcare, with some speculating the company will use the iPhone as a new electronic health record platform. In August, the company met with Aetna to discuss giving Apple Watches to Aetna members. The insurer already makes Apple Watches available to its 50,000 employees for its corporate wellness program.
Participants in this study only need an Apple Watch Series 1 or later model. Just download the Apple Heart Study app, which uses the watch’s heart-rate sensor to measure heart rate. If the sensors record a rhythm that looks like atrial fibrillation, the app will send the user a notification. The user will then also get a free consultation with a doctor. Those consultations will be provided by American Well on its telehealth platform.
Heart: Apple Watch Accuracy
The Apple Watch rated first in heart rate accuracy, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine. It scored the lowest margin of error for measuring heart rate compared to six other watches including the Fitbit Surge and Samsung Gear S2.
Recently, the FDA Apple approved the first Apple Watch accessory to be considered as a medical device.