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Apple teamed up with Stanford University and American Well, a privately held telehealth company, on their Apple Heart Rate Study to test the Apple Watch as a replacement for a regular heart rate monitor. The objective of the study is to discover if the watch is an effective alternative to a heart rate monitor that can detect arrhythmias and common heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation. If successful, this would make the smartwatch a “must have” device, and it could have the potential to save millions of lives.
On Mon., Sept. 11, at its annual Keynote Event, Apple confirmed the test and their involvement with Stanford, along with unveiling their new Series Three watches. Although many heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation don’t show external symptoms, they still carry the risk of blood clots, strokes, and other complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, “atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.” 0
In its newest OS 4 software, the watch tracks your current and resting heart rate, average heart rate while walking, and your recovery rate after exercising. The device would previously send an alert if your heart rate was high in general, but now it can send alerts when your heart rate is above 120 while not exercising. It is supposed to help identify common heart issues and let you know if you should see a specialist. These features are available on the Apple Watch Series 1, 2, and 3, but not the original Apple Watch because it does not contain a fast enough processor.
Apple’s goal along with Stanford and American Well is to provide a more convenient way to wear a heart monitor so they can help people identify heart conditions that may be unknown to the user, and to let them know if they need to seek medical attention if a problem is detected. American Well and many other companies already provide apps for the iPhone so that anyone with an internet connection can reach a doctor in a matter of minutes. Companies like these have made it easier on people to receive help; they are simply alerted if they have an elevated heart rate when resting and can then go to an app and connect with a doctor quickly. Apple once again is painting the path to a simpler future, making medical help and guidance more accessible.
(Sources: Fortune and CNBC)
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