Silicon Valley on Border of New Age of Healthcare

Within 24 hours of Apple launching its platform for health research this month, tens of thousands of iPhone users had signed up to take part in five inaugural studies involving some of the US’s most respected medical institutions… Apple’s ResearchKit is the latest example of the technology industry’s deepening interest in healthcare as mobile devices open new ways of measuring wellbeing. Apps ranging from step-counters and heart-rate meters to alcohol breathalyser kits and ovulation monitors already provide individuals with a wealth of personal health information. ResearchKit demonstrates the potential for this data to be aggregated in ways that could shed light on trends across wider population groups… Apple is not alone. Google has invested in two companies that aim to do their own research on the back of the proliferation of medical data … Read more: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/064a4a20-ce63-11e4-86fc-00144feab7de.html

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Apple Watch measures all the ways you move, such as walking the dog, taking the stairs, or playing with your kids. It even keeps track of when you stand up, and encourages you to keep moving. Because it all counts. And it all adds up… Read more: https://www.apple.com/watch/health-and-fitness/

Tests designed with ResearchKit use the iPhone’s sensors to record data. The touch screen can feel people tapping in rhythm to detect inconsistencies that may signal a disease. The accelerometer can compare the gait and balance of someone’s walk against a healthy person’s speed and posture. And the microphone can notice minute fluctuations in someone’s voice that may indicate Parkinson’s or another health problem:

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Read more: http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/09/apple-introduces-researchkit-turning-iphones-into-medical-diagnostic-devices/#tmhmdj:LJLc

Dr. Michael McConnell, a professor in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford Medicine who also directs Stanford’s cardiovascular health innovation program, said Apple’s new health efforts that include ResearchKit will be a game changer in cardiovascular technology. “We can use the power of something that they carry with them every day to help with measurements and surveys,” he said. “I think it is offering us a new way to do medical research. … I think we’ve amassed already what may be one of the world’s largest pieces of data on fitness… the impact on health could be profound.”
ABC video: Inside Apple’s Top Secret Health and Fitness Lab for Apple Watch Development.

Services focused on tracking health will be able to use the Watch interface to display relevant, up-to-the-minute statistics in a way that’s more convenient than on a smartphone, or on a monitoring device’s screen. It will do this using the processing power of your iPhone, rather than a mobile chip onboard the watch itself, and updates will be sent to the watch wirelessly. DexCom Monitor will work this way. It will use the Apple Watch to show blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetics by presenting an easy-to-read graph on the smartwatch’s display… Cohero Health is working on an Apple Watch app so asthmatics can better track their medical adherence and lung function… Malay Gandhi, managing director at Rock Health, says that giving people continuous feedback, prompting and reminding them at the right times, is key to inducing those sorts of lifestyle changes… The watch could even potentially help you make better decisions when you’re having a night on the town… Read more: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/apple-watch-apps/

Obstacles on Border.

When Apple Inc. started developing its smartwatch, executives envisioned a state-of-the-art health-monitoring device that could measure blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels, among other things, according to people familiar with the matter. But none of those technologies made it into the much-anticipated Apple Watch, due in April [2015]. Some didn’t work reliably. Others proved too complex. And still others could have prompted unwanted [FDA] regulatory oversight… Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/challenge-of-apple-watch-defining-its-purpose-1424133615

Apple initially experimented with sensors that measured skin conductivity to gauge stress levels, but struggled to get a consistent performance when they were tested on people with dry skin or hairy arms, according to the WSJ. The ability to passively monitor glucose levels without breaking skin — an achievement that could give unprecedented insight into someone’s diet — has also long been cited as a particularly difficult feat by medical and health tracking device makers. Another issue for Apple was the uncertainty over how such a souped-up health monitoring device would actually be regulated. In the Dec. 2013 meeting, the FDA said it wouldn’t need to regulate a glucose meter that monitored blood sugar to help a wearer better understand their nutrition. But it would have to step in if the meter was marketed to diabetics… Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2015/02/17/apple-watch-health-tracking/

See also:
How the Apple Watch Could Revolutionize Healthcare
iWatch – Apple’s Next Revolution: Era of Humanized Computing

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