While Kardia has for years been focusing on getting their technology to the market and broadening awareness of its device in the afib population, Apple has also been in the background looking to see how they can expand their iPhone and Apple Watch products into the digital health market. And the benefits of joining the study may offer you some incredibly valuable insight into your heart health. But the company, in collaboration with Stanford Medicine, launched the Apple Heart Study app on Thursday that uses the heart rate sensor inside the Apple Watch to collect data on irregular heart rhythms. Both apps will monitor heart rate for signs of AFib and escalate to an ECG if necessary - but while the Apple study's ECG will come in the mail, AliveCor's is built right into the Watch strap.
If an irregular heart rhythm is detected, participants in the study will be notified through the Apple Watch and on their iPhones.
Anyone in the United States who has an Apple Watch Series 1 or later and is over the age of 21 is eligible to participate, and can do so by downloading a free app from the app store.
Apple has long touted the Apple Watch as much more than a simple wearable for tracking your steps or receiving message notifications. However, many people don't have any symptoms warning them that they're experiencing AFib, which means that heart conditions are going undiagnosed. According to the iPhone maker, the study is the first of its kind, and it will utilize the heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch uses green LED lights that flash hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photodiodes to analyze blood flow through the wrist, from which heart rhythms are isolated by software algorithms in the watch.
"These stories inspire us and we're determined to do more to help people understand their health", Williams said in the announcement.
If you aren't sure which Apple Watch model you have, head over to the Watch app on your iPhone.
This is the first ResearchKit study in which Apple itself has served as the sponsor, and signals that the company is becoming more and more hands-on with its health efforts.
"We're excited to work with Apple on this breakthrough heart study". That includes all models except the original Apple Watch. Lastly, it could be an interesting talking point for pharmacists that are conducting MTM services as this could be a tool to collect data from. Apple says it doesn't have any identifying information on study participants. In September Williams said that Apple worked closely with the FDA in developing the study.