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Doctors say it is time for the Apple Watch to put all the health boxes in place

As a Harvard researcher, Shruthi Mahalingaiah has been using Apple watches to follow the ovulation cycle 70,000 women for more than two years in the largest survey ever. But as a doctor, he complains that he adheres to “dinosaur technology”.

The iPhone maker is portraying the Apple Watch as “the ultimate health tool”, but it is not something Mahalingaiah can use with his patients because there has not been enough innovation to validate and integrate data.

“The way we do it sometimes is decades after scientific discoveries,” he said. “We have a personal evaluation and we have all the medical problems – but how do they communicate?”

Mahalingaiah’s challenge in finding ways to incorporate Apple’s expertise in day-to-day care is why the Apple Watch, launched in 2015 and worn by people over 100m, has largely failed to live up to its promise of a “healthy future in your hands”.

Tim Cook, chief executive of the company, repeatedly stated that Apple’s global support will be “healthy and healthy” and that the Apple Watch is the most visible part of the system, with multiple sensors that can measure blood pressure, track movement, sleep and heart rate and taking an electrocardiogram.

When Apple launched the ECG model in 2018, Dr Richard Milani, vice chairman of cardiology at Ochsner Health, predicted that it would “change” the way patients can be monitored and treated.

He also said he remembers my friends “running towards me and telling me: ‘I can understand this and I don’t need to try again because this is a medical class!’ ‘

He was optimistic about how the care of patients with heart disease could continue to “visit two or three times a year in the office” to find a more effective way, including regular monitoring of symptoms.

Milani said his team is now able to manage data from thousands of patients and use artificial intelligence to predict future events – leading to hip fractures, brain injuries and many other problems. for 65 people and over.

But he admits that “ordinary doctors are not doing all this”.

Michael Breus, a psychiatrist known as the “sleeping doctor”, also believes that clothing like the Apple Watch could disrupt “doctor-patient relationships”. But he said “99.9 percent of doctors” are not in the court.

Apple Watch is worn in the hands of over 100m © AP

The potential for data to improve medical care is enormous. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that chronic illness is the “leading cause” of US $ 3.8tn, and “often” can be prevented by exercise, diet and early detection.

“If all you have experienced from people was the right heart rate and the right day-to-day routine to live a full life, you could even consider whether they have a serious illness, whether they have diabetes – all of that,” said Dr Steven LeBoeuf, founder. also Valencell. , maker of biometric sensors.

“The problem is, this is not approved by the medical staff and does not take long,” he added. “The [Food and Drug Administration] he had to agree and then the doctors would approve, and then he would have to be reimbursed. It’s a long way. It is not as straightforward as one might think. “

Apple has tried to take action, for example by partnering with Johnson & Johnson, a medical team, to study how its watch could reduce the risk of stroke. It has also worked with university researchers such as Mahalingaiah to create mass education. And he teamed up with hospitals to look at how medical information can be digitized.

But critics said Apple’s efforts did not live up to its promise. Sami Inkinen, chief of Virta Health, a telemedicine hospital that specializes in type 2 diabetes, said simply giving more is not enough.

“It’s like selling someone a scale: it’s not too difficult to tell people how much they are overweight,” Inkinen said. “But how do we change behavior and drive side effects, such as lowering blood sugar, detoxifying and losing weight? For me, this is missing from the Apple Watch.”

A research paper published in May is in line with the findings of others: “clothing lags behind what they can afford”, and “little evidence” that “brings about a change in behavior”.

Apple said its goal has been to provide customers with diagnostic tools and to work with medical manufacturers to manage patient care. It points to a new “sharing” function that allows users to share their data with their families, caregivers or doctors.

“And while we’re at the beginning of our healthy journey, we are encouraged by the stories of clients whose lives have been changed – and in their own words, saved – by the technology we create and build,” it said.

Neil Cybart, a researcher at Above Avalon, said getting into the hospital is definitely a departure from “something Apple owns”.

“It’s a good idea to come up with a device that filters this data, but (not to look too hard) to try to make these big networks compatible with this and to make their travels around the Apple Watch,” he added.

Meanwhile, many Apple Watch consumers are already proving themselves fit and healthy, according to Forrester research, indicating that the device may not be in the hands of those who want it most healthily.

“The worry is that people who need it most may have less access. Although sharing is important,” said Dr Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He said Apple seems to be more focused on adding new features to the device than helping doctors deal with it. Johns Hopkins is leasing Apple watches to patients so they can use his app, he added.

Carolina Milanesi, an expert on Creative Strategies, said that, despite her strong health concerns, Apple was happy to sell the watch as an addition to the iPhone’s lifestyle and could not do much research on medical clothing.

“If they really want to change their health, then they have to unlock the clock to work with Android,” Milanesi said. “But he’s not doing that.”

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