In what it’s calling the first-of-its-kind research study, Apple has launched the Heart Study app in an effort to gather data on irregular heart rhythms.
The company will use the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to monitor users’ heart rhythms and notify those who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib). The Apple Watch is able to gather signals from four points on the user’s wrist and can detect the amount of blood flowing through their wrist. It is then able to isolate heart rhythms which the Apple Heart Study app uses to identify irregular heart rhythms.
Atrial Fibrillation is the leading cause of stroke and is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalisations in the US every year. Apple states the condition is often undiagnosed as many people don’t experience symptoms.
Stanford Medicine will be performing the research for Apple. When an irregular heart rate is identified, users will receive a notification alongside a free consultation with a doctor and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for further monitoring.
The study is only available to those in the US who are over 22 years old and have an Apple Watch Series 1 or later.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, said: “Every week we receive incredible customer letters about how Apple Watch has affected their lives, including learning that they have AFib. These stories inspire us and we’re determined to do more to help people understand their health. Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science.”
“Through the Apple Heart Study, Stanford Medicine faculty will explore how technology like Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor can help usher in a new era of proactive health care central to our Precision Health approach,” said Lloyd Minor, Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine. “We’re excited to work with Apple on this breakthrough heart study.”
The study pushes Apple further into the healthcare market. The company recently had its first medical device accessory cleared for use on the Apple Watch by the FDA. More so, Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit platforms can potentially speed up clinical research and have been used by over 500 researchers and more than three million participants.