3rd October 2018 by Yvonne Adebola
Here at medCrowd, we’re excited by the digital evolution and the potential it can bring to healthcare. The apple watch, first released in April 2015 has grown to become the best-selling wearable device of all time and is a stellar example of digital innovation being used for the benefit of people’s health.
Recently Apple announced following FDA clearance that two exciting new features are set to be released this year, poised as innovations to help keep us alive. One of the features is an electrocardiogram (EKG) heart monitoring function which alert users of an irregular heart rhythm so they can follow up independently with a doctor. The other feature will be for the device to automatically phone emergency services if it senses a user has suffered a fall and they remain inactive for 60 seconds.
We want everyone, everywhere to receive the best care and this involves using digital devices within the parameters set by both product manufacturers and healthcare regulators. Important caveats to the new features centre on the heart-measuring functionalities of the device. For example the device is not intended for use by those under 22 years of age. Additionally the function is contraindicated for those who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation as it is designed to detect issues in people who have a normal heart rate. Lastly it is crucial to remember the device is not intended to replace traditional modes of diagnosis or treatment i.e. they should not replace the necessity of a visit to the doctor or to monitor ongoing issues for those with abnormal heart function.
Dr Felix Jackson recently wrote in PharmaTimes about how an uber-style gold rush could be harmful to healthcare. The health and care industries have among the highest regulations because changes in healthcare can have a literal life and death impact on patients. It’s great that Apple are working closely with the FDA to ensure that the Apple watch, currently categorised as a class 2 medical device is fit for use, working within the parameters its designed to and above all keeps people safe!
With cardiovascular diseases listed by the WHO as the number one cause of death worldwide, and a rapidly growing global elderly population we continue to look forward to innovations to improve healthcare for all.