In an exclusive interview on the eve of the publication of the study, Sumbul Desai, M.D., Apple’s VP of Health, said that during the conceptualizing and design of the product, Apple worked with the medical community, especially around the concern of how to ensure that it won’t drive unnecessary use of medical resources through false positives.
“Before a notification is given to a person, the feature has to see five instances that look like Afib.” Notes Dr. Desai. “By doing that gating within the algorithm, Apple designed toward specificity and toward avoiding unnecessary alerts.”
And this from Dr. Christopher Kelly, cardiologist at Columbia University Medical Center, on whether early detection helps people who are risk of Afib:
“A successful screening test is not one that just detects something earlier; it detects it earlier at a time where earlier intervention improves outcomes,” he says. “Over time we’ll figure out how to best use this stuff.”
Through the flow of the study, Apple learned other facts about participants’ health: 38 percent were obese based on body mass index, 21 percent had high blood pressure, 5 percent had diabetes, 1 percent had a prior stroke.
Feels like we are just getting started here. Can’t wait to see what Apple Watch 5 has in store.