An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Apple Watch and the Monitoring of Disease and Disorder

Apple Watch

There’s no denying that Apple has made great strides in the areas of technology, leaving consumers clamoring at the doors of just about every store whenever a new release is made. The pinnacle of innovation, their sleek designs intricately coalesce with a complex interface capable of being perfectly tailored to the desires of the consumer.  There are many things that come to mind when someone thinks of Apple, but none more ground breaking than the iPhone and its apps. Now an extension of the iPhone, the Apple watch shares ground-breaking developments with remarkable accessibility. In times where the digital world is growing exponentially, the saying “there’s an app for that” has never been truer. As of September 2018, Apple introduced two new apps aimed at tracking the heart health of wearers. A simple and trendy way to keep track of irregularities in heart function, this added function helps not only promote awareness but encourages individuals to take control of their personal health. Furthermore, there have been several other studies showcasing the utility of the Apple watch as a health monitoring device.

Heart Disease

A part of the suite of apps designed for the Apple Watch Series 4 are two seemingly ground-breaking additions. Using the optical sensor built into the device, information can easily be acquired and displayed on the screen of the watch. Of the two apps, one provides the ability to take an electrocardiogram and the other to analyze pulse data.  Through analysis of pulse data, the watch can determine and alert the user of any detected irregularities within the collected data. Furthermore, these heart health records generated can have their information easily shared with a doctor, simplifying the diagnosis. The apps have even received blessing from the FDA, a hurdle few companies manage to clear. Additionally, a clinical trial is currently being completed by Stanford University with 400,000 subjects to evaluate the effectiveness of these apps as monitoring tools for heart disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder

Despite the loss of stigma surrounding mental health, monitoring the conditions of those affected remains an ongoing problem. MDD (major depressive disorder) is described by the National Institute of Mental Health as a serious mood disorder that often encompasses symptoms that affect the various aspects of life such as sleeping, working and eating. A serious advancement in the monitoring of those afflicted, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA and Cognition Kit have created and app that allows the watch to evaluate both the mood and perception of patients suffering with MDD. Patients were seen to exhibit high degrees of compliance to evaluation with the simple interface tool. This makes it an easy way to better predict required support and to monitor patients throughout their daily lives.

Diabetes

Developed by Cardiogram, an AI network named DeepHeart has shown promising results in the pre-screening process for Diabetes. A study facilitated by the University of California San Francisco composed of 14,000 users was found to be able to detect those with diabetes (with 85% accuracy) solely based on the data collected from the device. Factors such as step count and heart rate were collected from the devices worn by users allowing inferences to be made. Diabetes is a disease that often goes unnoticed for too long, therefore with a simplistic approach such as this one as a pre-screening tool, this may help to not only increase awareness of those with the potential for this condition but also those around them. However, developers of the application have stressed that this is not to be used as a tool for diagnosis but more so in the screening process of individuals.

For more information, please contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are leading North American Regulatory and New Product Consultants for Medical DevicesNatural Health ProductsOTC DrugsCosmetics, and other consumer products regulated by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.