Apple Working with Stanford on Heart Study Using Apple Watch

Oct. 2, 2017
During an Apple event in Cupertino, California today, Apple introduced its new Apple Watch Series 3 with enhanced health and fitness enhancements.

During an Apple event in Cupertino, California today, Apple introduced its new Apple Watch Series 3 with enhanced health and fitness enhancements.

The new Apple Watch features watchOS 4 and includes an updated Heart Rate app that measures heart rate during resting, workout, recovery, walking and Breathe sessions. According to an Apple press release, customers can also choose to receive a notification when their heart rate is elevated above a specific threshold while inactive.

During the product announcement, the company also announced the Apple Heart Study, which uses data from Apple Watch to test if the heart rate sensors can detect cardiac arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, and possibly detect common heart conditions. The company is working with Stanford University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the study, Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said during the event. The first phase of the study will be available in the App Store later this year, Williams said.

During the event, Williams said Apple Watch can now also detect arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm, and he said that Apple Watch is looking to track atrial fibrillation, a type of serious arrhythmia.

CNBC first reported this development in a story posted online yesterday. CNBC’s Christina Farr reported that Apple is working with partners to test whether its smartwatch can be used to detect common heart conditions.

“The company is partnering up with a group of clinicians at Stanford, as well as telemedicine vendor American Well, to test whether Apple Watch's heart rate sensor can detect abnormal heart rhythms in a cohort of patients, according to two people familiar. The people requested anonymity as these plans have not yet been made public,” Farr reported. Although, during the Apple event, Williams mentioned working with Stanford, but he did not name American Well as a partner in the study.

Apple's Tim Cook hinted at the company's interest in heart health applications in an interview with Fortune published on Monday, Farr reported.

In June, CNBC reported that Apple hired Sumbul Desai, from Stanford's digital health team who was working on projects related to Apple Watch. CNBC also reported that month that Apple has been in talks with developers, hospitals and other industry groups about bringing clinical data, such as detailed lab results and allergy lists, to its devices, Farr wrote.

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