Apple’s FDA-cleared Apple Watch band underlines its growing healthcare focus
Apple is increasing its focus on the healthcare sector. With Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams recent comments to CNBC, explaining that “the future of medicine involves the patient at the centre of the health experience armed with data,” the company is seeing the growing potential of this traditional industry, and will embed new and upcoming technologies into its products to become a leader within health-tech.
The release of AliveCor’s FDA-cleared technology, the KardiaBand, will see Apple Watch users become further supported, especially those with cardiac conditions.
Electrode sensors are built into the band’s design to enable the technology to provide real-time electrocardiogram (ECG) readings via the company’s app. The accessory also detects any abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation.
The app will continuously monitor a user’s heartrate, and will alert a user to any abnormal activity, or where routines from previous history deviates. The band therefore utilises AI software, named SmartRhythm, to learn repeated patterns or daily activities which would impact a user’s activity, creating exceptional algorithms.
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The KardiaBand will operate with the Apple Watch Series 1, 2 and 3, and users will have to place their thumb on the inbuilt sensor in the band, which will provide significant information within 30 seconds. All results are stored and imported into Apple Health, and can be sent to the user’s GP.
The development links with Apple’s new Heart Study app, built in partnership with Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Users will be able to take part and, if there are any abnormalities, they will be in contact with a doctor through FaceTime technology.
The focus on atrial fibrillation is significant, and is the leading cause of death for over approximately 20% of deaths, in addition to cardiac disease. Civilians normally live with symptoms for up to two years before they are diagnosed, so this new technology will help diagnose and support users prior to any lapse in health.
Jvion launches AI-powered map to tackle mental health crisis
Clinical AI company Jvion has launched an interactive map of the US that highlights areas that are most vulnerable to poor mental health.
The Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map uses Jvion's AI CORE™ software to analyse public data on social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine the vulnerability of every US Census block group.
Vulnerability refers to the likelihood that residents will experience issues like self-harm, suicide attempts or overdoses. The map also identifies the most influential social determinants in each region, to show the social and environmental conditions that contribute to mental illness.
As an example, the map shows that Harrison County in Mississippi has a 50% higher suicide rate than the rest of the state. It also shows a high percentage of individuals in the armed forces at a time when active duty suicides are at a six-year high, along with a high prevalence of coronary artery disease, arthritis, and COPD, all chronic illnesses that are linked to a higher suicide risk.
The map also shows Harrison County has a high percentage of Vietnamese Americans, who studies suggest have high rates of depression and may be less likely to seek help from mental health professionals.
The map was built using the same data and analytics that Jvion used to create the COVID Community Vulnerability Map, which was launched towards the start of the pandemic.
With this new map, Jvion is aiming to tackle the growing mental health crisis in the US. “At a time when so many Americans are struggling with their mental health, we’re proud to offer a tool that can help direct treatment resources to the communities that need it most,” said Dr John Showalter, MD, Jvion’s chief product officer, who led the development of the map.
“For too long, the healthcare industry has struggled to address social determinants of health, particularly in the context of behavioural health. Our hope is that by surfacing the social and environmental vulnerabilities of America’s communities, we can better coordinate our response to the underlying conditions that impact the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.”