Apple has sent an early taste of its forthcoming software version “iOS 15” to a select group of users through Apple’s Health App.
That new app, unveiled last year at the Worldwide Developers Conference, already includes seven sensors to monitor a variety of physical functions such as weight, body temperature, breathing and heart rate.
With the incorporation of the Heart Monitor (announced in June 2018) into the Health App, medical professionals will be able to listen in on a patient in their clinic, potentially at any time. This could be a huge hit with healthcare professionals as well as patients – and with a user base of more than a billion, it’s set to be a huge marketing opportunity.
The heart monitor uses a series of beeping noises to detect changes in heart rate – a more discreet version of Apple’s EarPods, which headphones work from. Each time the sensor goes off, an alarm is raised.
The alert comes from the app and presents a chart of how the wearer’s heart rates fluctuate over the course of the day and night. An IV option makes it possible to fill out a brief evaluation in the app. Users will be alerted to symptoms – including chest pain – or illnesses by the app and have the option to call their GP.
The on-screen graphic details symptoms, while a voice question mark informs the user when it feels like a doctor or nurse might be on their way.
Currently, the app can detect two or more abnormal heartbeats. Doctors can find this level – known as myocardial infarction (MI) – in only eight percent of patients with suspected MI. A third of MI sufferers – more than one million people – do not present to hospital despite experiencing problems.
Smoking, alcohol and drug consumption are known to be contributory factors in MI and they can only be recognised by professionals who are trained to spot them. On-screen prompts advise users how long their heart rate should fluctuate and how many beats per minute they should be experiencing.
In the future, the Health App could deliver a grade on your overall heart health, based on the activity that you are doing at that time.
It could be a whole new revenue stream for Apple.