Current statistics show there are more than 202 million people worldwide wearing smartwatches. But your Fitbit and Apple watch can do so much more than relay your messages, play music or track your steps.
Whether it’s too fast or too slow, when a heartbeat is offbeat, it may mean trouble.
“Patients that develop atrial fibrillation can have pretty severe consequences, specifically as it relates to stroke,” said Dr. Matthew McKillop.
But you may already be using one of the newest tools in the fight against a-fib: your smartwatch!
“Patients now have the ability to record arrhythmias real-time,” McKillop said.”
A Stanford study of 400,000 people found Apple Watches were able to correctly identify 84% of cases of a-fib. A smartwatch also helps doctors monitor patients pre and post-op.
“Which will track step counts, stride length, heart rate, and a variety of other data points that we don’t normally track as a surgeon,” said Dr. Jeffrey DeClaire.
DeClaire is part of an Apple Watch study that gives him daily real-time data on his patients before and after knee replacements.
“A month before surgery, they started sending me educational information as well as exercises to do, and they track how you’re doing with your exercises,” said Denise Erhart.
And diabetics like Sydnie Stephens-Boussard can monitor glucose levels without that dreaded pinprick blood test.
So, when I’m going too high, my watch will ding. And then when I’m going too low it’ll also ding,” Stephens-Boussard said.
And other studies suggest wearable devices might also be able to catch other illnesses like the common cold, the flu, even Lyme disease.
“This is actually something that is in my own practice directly impacting care,” McKillop said.
Smartwatches are also becoming popular to monitor elderly family members as most have detection technology that will call 911 if they take a fall. Now that the tech is being used, McKillop said more focus will need to be done on ways to make health information secure and privacy compliant throughout the healthcare industry.