Wearable Technology and Your Health

I wanted to share this interview from mobihealthnews with Apples VP of Health D.R. Sumbul Desai. While I am a bit of an Apple fanboy, I take technology and health very seriously.

While reading the news today, I ran across this article and I wanted to highlight a couple of quotes. I will include a link to the sourced.

For a long time, I have felt there was value in allowing my doctor so see my health data that I collect on my Apple Watch. Sadly, that is not possible. When asked about sharing personal health data from HealthKit into their medial records, Dr Desai respond:

Some health institutions do allow you to put data from HealthKit into your actual record. But what’s really cool about what’s going on right now is we’ve had a few — I’ve actually heard this from a few of my physician colleagues anecdotally. They’ll have a patient who will show them what was happening on their HealthKit in terms of their heart rate. And then they’ll look at the medication that they were on in Health Records, when it was started, and then figure out what trajectory they were on. And one physician, and this is again anecdotal, shared with me that he was able to get someone out of the hospital sooner because he had those pieces of information together.

Two of my favorite features in the most recent Apple Watch are fall detection and the ability to do a ECG. To many, these features seem to be of benefit to an order demographic. When asked about Apples perspective on this, she responded:

There’s a few things I’ll say. One, we build our products for everyone. We don’t ever sit and say ‘Hmmm, what demographic are we building this for?’

With regards to fall detection, I know that was the immediate place that people took it, but if you look at the stats, falls are one of the most common reasons for people to go into the emergency room across all age groups. So you can imagine, and this has happened to me, going up on your step stool to try to get some flour or sugar, no matter what age group you’re in, and having a fall. And that happens. And so we really built fall detection for everyone.

With atrial fibrillation, it is true that the highest prevalence you see is in the older population. However, … there’s also a lot of studies being done in the cardiology community of what really is the prevalence of a-fib [in younger populations], and that’s not known yet. So that’s what we’re doing with the Apple Heart Study, where we’re looking at an undiagnosed population.

And again, [we’re] very early in the journey. We’re in the first inning when we think about where we are with health. [But hopefully we] will understand potentially, or at least it will give us a clue potentially, of what is the occurrence of atrial fibrillation across all populations. And then the next question is ‘What do you do with it?’ And that’s where we work with the healthcare community. Once you understand that someone has atrial fibrillation, what is the right pathway for them? We know for older populations what the right pathway is, but the question is for those that are in the middle.

And we’re still partnering with the medical community to learn that, but the way we look at it is that we are driving the conversation around heart health for people that don’t know they have a condition. And atrial fibrillation is one of those conditions that affects everybody. There are a lot of people, even in the letters that we have, that are much younger, and it has been meaningful for them to understand that they have this condition.

I think there is so much potential for wearable technology. It has already, and will continue to save lives. The future will only see more interesting applications of technology married with wearables. Read the entire article .. it’s worth the time it takes. Here is the link.

~ Rick

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