The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) announced a two heart rythm-sensing mobile applications designed by Apple for their watch coming late this year in the US. The device creates an electrocardiugram to detect atrial fibrillation and heart rythm whilst the other analyzes pulse data if atrial fibrillation is detected.
A user would be required to press their finger against a button the watch for 30 seconds. The device would then deliver a heart rhythm classification telling the user if their heart is normal or atrial fibrillation. The data can then be shared with physicians and according to Apple, all data is encrypted.
“There are several sub-groups of patients that could benefit from this new device. While there are many digital recording devices on the market today, a wearable device for the wrist is obviously easier for most patients—especially a device that could better track patients that have more intermittent symptoms of arrhythmia,”
ACC President, C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC.
Microsoft and Google are also heading in this direction, offering $45 million in grants for "assistive technologies." Microsoft say its hopes is that identifying promising projects that can eventually be incorporated into widely available services.
“We’re certainly seeing an explosion of new technology that is looking to support people with disabilities. There are a lot of innovators out there ... who are looking to move beyond maybe a dating app or a social networking app and are looking to do something that really helps the disadvantaged.”
Zvika Krieger, Head of technology policy and partnerships at the World Economic Forum
“We know that atrial fibrillation is an important cause of stroke and that people can be asymptomatic." One study found that among people who might have had atrial fibrillation who were not hospitalized, a different smartwatch was only able to correctly diagnose people about 67% of the time.
In the past Apply has shied away from making specific medical claims on its watches even as it unveiled tools measuring health-related statistics such as a person's heart rate. The company has focused far more on general data such as how much a person moves (steps).
“Apple Watch is great for affluent people who are comfortable with the technology, but medical technology can’t succeed unless you can get it in the hands of the people who need it and can use it,” he said. “Millions of older people may struggle with the Apple Watch’s technology or its expense.”
Vic Gundotra, the CEO of AliveCor, which produced the third-party wristband.