Apple’s New Watch Refines Health-Features With ECG Heart Monitor:
So when Apple originally rolled-out the watch with the heart-rhythm measuring feature, it was greeted with a little skepticism,
That was because many wrist-based health devices can end-up being less than perfectly-accurate.
From calories-burned by exercise, all the way to questions about serious measurements like heart rhythms.
But this time, Apple’s taken the next step by integrating big data and better sensors that foreshadow the future of health, starting with your heart…
An Imperfect-Subsitute, But Still A Potential Life-Saver:
So in the first 3 versions, Apple put LEDs & receivers in the back of their watches to measure heart-rate.
But in the new one, they’ve taken a more serious step, and integrated a conductive-crown that can help measure it even more accurately,
Though it’s at-most 98% accurate, and very simple compared to what hospitals have, it can certainly still help people.
And Yes, it’s still worth it.
First The Research, Then The Function:
So along the way to get here, they first started by creating the large-scale ResearchKit platforms for doctors,
And then came HealthKit, and then studies on all kinds of conditions including Asthma, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Breast Cancer, and Heart Disease.
Then came CareKit for individuals like you and me, to keep them on-track with their maintenance-programs.
But the real key was the heart-study out of Stanford,
The Future Of Health Starts With Big-Data:
And the problem with a lot of those studies is Data.
Only .5% of all survey-recipients actually participate.
But what if you had a device that everyone had, where all they had to do was install an app, and they were already in the study?
That’s what Apple did with Stanford.
And the results of that study are bearing fruit in the new watch.
The Apple Watch’s Heart-Health Monitoring All Started With A Stanford Study:
Not only have they changed the sensor on the back,
But now, the new sensor is an extremely-simple version of lab-grade equipment,
Just like the Recently-released Alive-Cor Kardia Band.
It’s a pretty-accurate EKG, or ECG as Apple is calling it.
The app measures either normal rhythm, which it calls “Sinus” or irregular heartbeat, called A-Fib, for Atrial Fibrilation.
Class 2, Or “Cleared” By The FDA Is Good-Enough:
And with all that data from the Stanford Heart, it’s been “Cleared” by the FDA for something approaching medical use.
Now it’s not 100% accurate, and is still not good enough to be called medical or hospital-grade, it’s still pretty damn good.
And “Cleared” represents only a Class 2 out of 3 level of medical clearance.
“Approved”, or Class 3 (ex: like a pacemaker) would mean that it had to undergo several costly trials over a fairly long period of time.
Algorithms + Big-Data Means Better Results Everywhere:
-Which may not be off the table in the future.
But just for now, wrist-based devices can only get so good, and Apple probably represents the top level of that.
But the future of digital-health is probably even more-represented by their Fall-Detector.
No, it’s not for Pumpkin-Spice Lattes.
Regardless of the specific application, it’s how they Built it that matters.
What they did was point an algorithm at tons & tons of data from inexpensive sensors and teach it to interpret.
And that is exactly where the future lies.
If The Software & Data Are Good-Enough, The Sensors Can Be Cheap:
For example, if you are anxious then your fingertips will be cold relative to your face.
In-fact, if they are 90 degrees farenheit or colder, you probably are.
And the doctor who taught me this also told me that the first thing his lab tried was millions of dollars worth of insane measurement-equipment in every possible test you could imagine.
And what they found was that the correlation was so high between finger-temperature and anxiety,
-All you needed was a $9 RadioShack outdoor thermometer to tell.
Or even cheaper, just your face.
We’re Not There Yet, But Soon A Watch May Monitor All Important Vitals:
And that is exactly what will happen here.
Just like the green LED on the back of the watch and the conductive crown & caseback,
Device-makers will continue to put cheap sensors on the edge of clever algorithms that have been trained by massive data-sets.
And one day you can monitor just about any health input off a reasonably-priced wearable if the data & software-engineering behind them are sophisticated-enough.
Now it may take just as long as the heart-study Apple ran with Stanford, or-longer.
But the future of pervasive, digitally-driven health monitoring and improvements is here.
And this will happen for:
4) Body pH
And probably a ton of other health-variables nobody’s even thought of yet.
They’re already diagnosing eye-problems with smartphones and AI, so anything could come next.
The Apple Watch Is Only A Toy To People It Hasn’t Saved Yet:
And before you say it’s just a toy, and that hospital-grade machinery is the only stuff that’s worthy of diagnostic certification,
The Real Secret-Weapon in the watch is that it’s always-on.
Show me any lab-grade machine that does that.
So perhaps months of imperfect data is better at saving-lives than 2 hours of perfect data.
And what it lacks in ultimate-accuracy, it makes up-for in massive quantity of damn-close.
To underline that point, just remember about 8+ people so-far have had their lives saved by the apple watch’s ability to detect heart-problems,
-Ones that no cardiologist would have been around long-enough or soon-enough to find without it.
A non-comprehensive list of those people saved by the robotic-doctor on their wrist includes:
1) Deanna Recktenwald
2) David Gilley
3) Scott Killian
4) William Monzidelis
5) Kevin Pearson
6) James Green
7) Gaston D’Aquino
8) Mike Love
9) Chuck La Tournous
At least a few more who were involved in car-accidents and couldn’t reach their phones to call 911 had an apple watch help them, too:
10) Casey Bennett
11+12) Kacie Anderson and her son
13) Chandler Robertson
What If Part Of “Cure” Is Just A Digital “Doctor” That Lives On Your Wrist?:
And more than just those front-page-of-newspaper examples exist.
Supposedly thousands more have sent letters to Apple’s design director Jony Ive on the many ways the watch saved their lives, too.
But back to the point, since Heart-Disease is the number 1 killer in the world, this really is a big deal; to more than just 8 or 9 lucky people.
Maybe a big part of what catches big health-problems in the future before the consequences get serious,
Is just a tiny digital “doctor” who never leaves your side? (or your wrist?)
Fyi, the new series 4 Apple Watch ships starting September 21st, -But- the ECG heart-health monitoring app and AFib alert-system won’t be available until later on.
JUMP BONUS!: A Film On A Few Lives The Apple Watch (3-Cellular?) Helped Save:
Photo/Video Credits: Videos & Photos by Apple, Capture of Video 1 by Economic Times
• Source: Apple Watch 4 – Health
• More Coverage:
• Apple Heart Study With Stanford
• HT-Apple CareKit
• HT-Apple ResearchKit
• WHO – Heart Disease