We keep hearing about the Apple Watch saving lives, and Apple's working towards a new goal: saving you from a stroke. This is more than just a mere feature rumor, as Apple announced its intent yesterday (Feb. 25), as a part of a massive partnership.
The current Apple Watch Series 5 succeeded as the company pivoted towards health, and Apple's continuing in that direction with the help of Johnson & Johnson. A press release provided details on J&J's own app, Heartline Study, which is going to work with the Apple Watch's heart health features to see if they can "improve health outcomes, including reducing the risk of stroke."
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Hopefully, the Apple Watch and the Heartline Study app can thrive in its attempts to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) earlier. AFib, which the press release calls "a leading cause of stroke" is especially difficult to detect, because it's asymptomatic, sneaking up on patients and not giving any warnings — until a cardiovascular event hits.
The Heartline Study, according to Dr. C. Michael Gibson (co-chair of the Heartline Executive Committee and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School), will attempt to see if AFib can be spotted earlier, via Apple Watch technologies such as "the ECG [electrocardiogram] app and irregular rhythm notification feature."
This study also has the benefit from allowing participants to contribute from their remote locations and their own devices. As the press release notes,"this approach to conducting a clinical trial, if successful, could potentially save time and cost."
Considering joining the program to increase the pool of collected data? You must be 65 or older to enroll, as well as be a U.S. resident and have Original (traditional) Medicare. They also require you already own an iPhone 6s or later, and allow the companies access to Medicare claims data.
Participants will also gain "ongoing education, tips, surveys and questionnaires across many topics related to overall heart health throughout the two-year active engagement period."