Apple COO Jeff Williams: Heart study interview

Since that will was released in 2015, Apple Watch has always included a heart rate sensor. although to screen for atrial fibrillation, Apple needed to do more: that will needed to monitor the heart’s rhythm.

To do that will, the company used a combination of both hardware as well as software tools.

that will works by combining LED lights that will flash hundreds of times each second as well as light-sensitive semiconductor devices to detect the quantity of blood flowing through the wrist. These sensors gather these signals coming from four points on the wrist. The software algorithms then look for patterns to isolate irregular heart rhythms.

If the Apple Watch picks up on a problem, those who participate from the study will get a notification as well as an offer of a free consultation, via a phone call or video, that has a remote doctor. These virtual visits are provided by American Well, a privately held company.

The doctor will run through some standard questions as well as suggest a visit to the emergency room for further tests, or send the subject a patch called an electrocardiogram or EKG, which is actually considered the gold standard for diagnosing atrial fibrillation.

Longer-term, a company called Alivecor is actually developing an interchangeable Apple Watch band with an in-built EKG to detect atrial fibrillation as well as additional conditions.

that will remains to be seen whether Apple will work with insurance partners to provide a discounted or free device to those who can’t afford an Apple Watch. that will recently held meetings with Aetna to nail down a strategy to provide watches to millions of its members.

Because the study is actually based on a mobile device, anyone can sign up regardless of their proximity to a medical center. Williams described that will as “a bit of a breakthrough in that will that will’s a virtual clinical trial,” which will be broadly available to a large population.

that will’s unique as well as will help dramatically increase the people who can participate from the study. although that will also means the company will need to show that will that will isn’t sending healthy people to the hospital armed with data coming from an Apple Watch. that will’s a big challenge, medical experts say, because testing or screening a healthy population always carries with that will a risk of false positives.

“We may all have a little of that will, if we start looking for that will,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist as well as director of Yale-completely new Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research as well as Evaluation. He added that will the medical system is actually not yet equipped to handle such information.

A potential abnormality in an otherwise healthy young person could require further tests as well as procedures, for instance, or that will could that will resolve on its own. Doctors don’t necessarily know.

although Dr. Lloyd Minor, Stanford’s dean of medicine, said his team has been “very thoughtful in how we’ve set up This particular research study,” as well as that will he doesn’t think that will will lead to false positives.

Despite his concerns, Krumholz said studies like This particular represent a “completely new era of medicine,” where clinical research is actually open to anyone, regardless of their medical diagnosis, physician or proximity to a physical site.

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