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Latest Apple Watch to Cure Heart Disease (Yes, That’s the Sarcasm Font)

Posted on September 13, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

By this point, I think that most people have seen the big announcement coming out of the Apple event that the Apple Watch 4 now has ECG and other heart monitoring capabilities built in. The watch will notify you if your heart rate is too low and instances of atrial fibrillation that it detects. Plus, all of this is done as an FDA cleared device (some are reporting that Apple got their FDA clearance in 30 days which is crazy fast for a medical device).

The response to this announcement has been quite interesting. Most aren’t surprised that Apple has been moving more and more into healthcare. Plus, there have been a lot of reports that have mistakenly called this the first consumer ECG which it’s not. AliveCor deserves that credit and I recently wrote about another consumer ECG which is just one of many that are coming. However, many are suggesting that the Apple Watch will be the first time that many younger, healthier people will be regularly using an ECG like this. That’s an interesting idea.

As you might have assumed by the title of this post, I think the Apple Watch announcement isn’t much ado about nothing, but it’s also not the announcement of “sliced bread” being invented either. Let’s dive into what this announcement really means for healthcare.

As I mentioned when I wrote about the other consumer ECG, there’s currently somewhat limited value in what can be done with a single lead ECG. So, it’s important to keep this Apple Watch announcement in the right perspective even though I’m sure most consumers won’t understand these details. One person even commented on how Apple created messaging that calls it an “intelligent health guardian” to confuse people while still avoiding liability:

Perception sells and Apple is as good at creating perception as anyone. Will many more people buy an Apple Watch if they perceive it as something that will help them monitor their health better? Definitely. However, there are some other consequences that many doctors are warning about when it comes to this type of tracking hitting the masses.

First up is Dr. Nick van Terheyden who provides a comparative example of why all this “testing” could lead to a lot of incidentloma’s (Nice word I assume he made up to describe false positives in health tests):

A nephrologist at Cricket Health, Carmen A. Peralta, chimed in with this perspective:

The problem with these devices is that it’s not in Apple’s best interest to truly educate a patient on what the device can and can’t do. If a single lead ECG like this was a reliable arbitrator of when to go to the ED or when to not go, then it would be extremely valuable. However, many doctors I’ve talked to are suggesting that a single lead ECG isn’t sufficient for this type of information. So, a false negative or a false positive from the Apple Watch can provide incorrect reassurance or unfortunate anxiety that is dangerous. Who’s going to communicate this information to the unsuspecting Apple Watch buyer? My guess is relatively no one.

Another doctor made this ironic observation when it comes to the false positives the Apple Watch will produce:

You can just imagine the Apple Watch template in an EHR system. I wonder if it will include an Apple Watch education sheet. Maybe the EHR could send that education sheet to their watch instead of the portal. Wishful thinking…I know.

Another doctor made this poignant observation about the announcement:

We could go on for a while about prevention versus diagnosis. However, I don’t think it’s really an either or proposition. Prevention is great, but detection and diagnosis are as well since we can’t prevent everything.

This MD/PhD student summed up where we’re at with these consumer health devices really well:

I agree completely. The Apple Watch is directionally good, but still far away from really making a significant impact on health and/or our healthcare sysetm.

Apple’s Full-Court Move Into Healthcare – Game Changer or Flash In the Pan? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 3, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/6 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Joe Babaian (@JoeBabaian) on the topic of “Apple’s Full-Court Move Into Healthcare – Game Changer or Flash In the Pan?”.

The past week has been filled with excitement about @Apple’s move into healthcare. For the followers of #HITsm, #hcldr & #HITMC this has been one of our top topics! We all care about access and ownership of our healthcare data in a coherent and interoperable way. We hang on the various new initiatives, promises, and false starts offering the opportunity to finally pull all this together.

Apple has laid down the gauntlet: @chrissyfarr writing for @CNBC “Apple’s plan to put health records on your phone has huge implications for medicine”

  • Apple announced on that it has expanded its health records product to 40 health systems and 300 hospitals, and it’s opening it up to all iOS users.
  • “Doctors put patients in charge,” Apple’s news release reads.
  • “We view the future as consumers owning their own health data,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, said in a recent interview with CNBC.


The reaction has been enormous:

  • Apple is changing the game, breaking the mold.
  • Apple is hyping a partial measure to a select group only within a walled garden.
  • Apple is laying the groundwork for flipping the paradigm going forward.
  • Apple is promoting Apple.

These are just some of the comments I’ve been hearing. In some ways, the reaction is almost political and veers away from sober reckoning and gets close to Apple “fanboys” vs. everyone else. This isn’t the approach we should take during a time of disruption – we must dive more deeply and look for the pros and cons while putting aside our preconceived notions. With a powerful foundation, Apple is one of the few organizations with the ability to pull something like this off – both logistically (40 systems / 300 hospitals!) and technologically. By this same token, Apple has been known to embrace their own vision and expect everyone else to do the same – right or wrong.

Please join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we discuss the following:

T1: How is Apple’s plan for health records truly altruistic and game-changing or just a flash in the pan? #HITsm

T2: How might Apple’s entry into 40 systems & 300 hospitals make this effort successful by the very nature of the massive roll out? #HITsm

T3: Why have so many other health record / access initiatives with similar goals failed to catch fire and truly succeed? #HITsm

T4: What will be needed for Apple’s push to reach the majority of patients in an effective way? Or is this impossible? #HITsm

T5: What will you do when presented with an iPad upon admission and instructions for using your iPhone for total access to your health records and care? #HITsm

Bonus: Does it matter if the solution for health records and data lives on iOS or Android? Shouldn’t we all get behind what works with the right vision versus looking to pick things apart? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/13 – How to Evolve Healthcare Conferences in the 21st Century
Hosted by Steve Sisko (@shimcode)

4/20 – TBD
Hosted by Burt Rosen (@burtrosen) and the #WTFix team

4/27 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.