University of Michigan Launches Apple Watch Health Study

March 15, 2019

The University of Michigan has launched a three-year study to explore if data collected on the Apple Watch could provide key insights into a person’s overall health.

The three-year study, called MIPACT (Michigan Predictive Activity and Clinical Trajectories), is already underway, with 1,000 participants enrolled. It aims to enroll thousands more patients of Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, over the next year, according to officials.

The resulting data will then be made available to participants and researchers who are studying health information, daily activity, wearable signals, and participant-reported quality of life with an eye toward an improved understanding of wellness and disease. Apple is collaborating with U-M to conduct this study and a subset of the data will be available to Apple researchers, officials noted.

“Michigan Medicine and Apple are focused on participant data privacy and security, and we take our responsibility seriously. We’ve even implemented several new systems to maximize privacy and security,” states MIPACT study lead Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at the Medical School.

In September, Apple announced its Apple Watch Series 4, inclusive of an electrocardiogram function as well as fall detection capabilities. Some major healthcare insurers, such as Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, already offer the Apple Watch to its employees as part of a wellness program.

“This study is a unique opportunity to work with patients to gain insight into their daily and overall health status, providing a wealth of data that can be used for research that benefits everyone and advances health care,” noted Marshall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the U-M Medical School.

MIPACT is built upon experience gained from the enrollment of 60,000 participants over the last six years of the Michigan Genomics Initiative, part of Precision Health at the University of Michigan, as well as the infrastructure of the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research.