Over 400,000 people signed up for a Stanford University study sponsored by Apple that wanted to examine if the Apple Watch is capable of detecting patients with undiagnosed heart rhythm problems.
The study has a number of goals: to determine how many people are diagnosed, how many of those who have received an irregular pulse notification need medical attention and to determine the accuracy of the irregular-pulse detection by putting the watch against simultaneous ECG recordings.
“We now have access to high-quality sensors that can measure and detect changes in our bodies in entirely new and insightful ways without even needing to go to the doctor, but we need to rigorously evaluate them. There’s never really been a study like this done before.”
The study does not require people to participate by visiting a doctor in person – the patients simply receive alerts on their Apple Watches which ask them to call for a telemedicine consultation with a doctor only when the optical sensors detect repeated periods of irregular heartbeats.
The study was launched in November 2017 and the study is now in the final stages, with completion expected in early 2019. A paper detailing the study has already been published in the American Heart Journal.