In Cupertino California yesterday Apple made a slew of product announcements that significantly evolve and add to the digital health capabilities of its platform and devices.
Most significant was the announcement of enhanced heart rate monitoring and alerting software now built into the latest third generation Apple watches.
Heart rate data will be included on the face of the Apple Watch for the first time, providing at a glance view of heart rate.
Apple Watch has included sophisticated LED and photodiode-based heart rate sensors on the reverse of watch since first launched in April 2015, and has become the most widely used heart monitoring device in the world.
The new heart rate monitoring software will now provide warning notifications if an elevated heart rate is detected during a period of inactivity.
The new Heart Rate App will monitor users resting, walking and workout recovery heart rate, using a combination of heart rate and accelerometer sensor data. It will send an alert if a users’ heart rate rises above a set threshold when they’ve been inactive for a 10-minute period.
A study of over 6,000 individuals, published in May by University of California, San Francisco, suggested that the Apple Watch heart rate sensors, coupled with an AI algorithm, could detect atrial fibrilation with 97 per cent accuracy.
Apple announced plans to use this latest functionality to accumulate potentially vast amounts of clinical data through a new program called the Apple Heart Study.
Working with researchers from Stanford University Apple will use the sensors built into Apple Watches to observe and analyze arrhythmias.
The Heart Rate App functionality will be included in the OS4 update due 19 September.