Wearables and Your Health

If you read the tech press at all, you have likely seen the articles about the Standford Medicine research study. They were studying the potential to identify irregular heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation (Afib). Doing things at scale is one of the things that apple does well. This study included 400,000 people.

I have read most of the articles about this and I think the one from Men’s Health was one of the more interesting. It included a couple of very good interviews. They talked to Apple’s VP of Health, Sumbul Desai, M.D. and also to Christopher Kelly, M.D., a cardiologist at Columbia University Medial Center.

So, what part of health care should wearable play? Talking about the Watch, Dr. Desai said:

“It’s not meant to diagnose or to officially screen,” she says. “It’s meant to be an initial data point for the individual, so they can take that information and have a more informed and thoughtful conversation with their doctor.”

I think this is the power of wearables and other devices you can incorporate into your day at home. I use a smart scale, blood pressure cuff, and my Watch to monitor many aspects of my health. When I have my annual wellness checkup, I have share these with my doctor. He does not really use them, but it’s connects me with my health.

Knowing you have a condition does not really indicate that knowledge is going to lead to proper treatment. From the Men’s health article:

"Just because you know about a disease earlier doesn’t prove that it’s a good thing," says Dr. Kelly. He explains that treatment isn't always possible for people who don't have stroke-related risk factors or experience symptoms from Afib, like shortness of breath.

I think there are other issues too. For example, my Watch cannot monitor glucose or insulin (yet). This is just one of many bodily measurements we cannot monitor yet with a wearable. (Well, for a reasonable price and small size).

The technology will continue to improve. New wearables are in development that will push us to the next level. We need new sensors and new tech to make it all happen. It’s exciting.

Now, jump over and read the Men’s Health article:

Apple’s Largest-Ever Health Study Could Be a Game-Changer


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