Apple is joining forces with researchers to conduct health studies that include using Apple Watch to explore how blood oxygen levels can be used in future health applications.
Last month, Apple collaborated with the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to examine how longitudinal measurements of blood oxygen and other physiological signals can help manage and control asthma.
Now, Apple will work closely with investigators at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network, one of the largest health research organizations in North America, to better understand how blood oxygen measurements and other Apple Watch metrics can help with management of heart failure. Finally, investigators with the Seattle Flu Study at the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine and faculty from the University of Washington School of Medicine will seek to learn how signals from apps on Apple Watch, such as Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen, could serve as early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19, reports Apple.
For the heart failure study, Apple has collaborated with researchers from the University of Toronto led by Dr. Heather Ross. The team will use Apple Watch sensors, including the new VO2 Max algorithm, along with traditional in-clinic assessments, to monitor patients through the course of their treatment. The goal of the study will be to see how much meaningful assessment of the patients can be accomplished with the signals from the Watch, according to MobiHealthNews.
“We’re working with the team at UHN to help understand which interventions are having the most impact on the physiological signals” Desai said. “This study is about measuring the cardiovascular and pulmonary signals that are important, but also how does it potentially change how you manage heart failure from a clinical management standpoint?”
Apple’s other study with the Seattle Flu Study and the University of Washington is along the same lines. In this study, participants will be monitored with the Watch, as well as with traditional respiratory panel tests, so researchers can start to understand how much power the Watch’s blood oxygenation sensor, for example, has to predict respiratory infections.
“The hope is that physiological signals from the Apple Watch will make it possible to identify people who are falling ill, and get them tested quickly so they can self-isolate and break the chain of transmission of the virus in the community,” Dr. Jay Shendure, professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a statement.