Apple Watch Series 6 blood oxygen sensor vital in Apple asthma study

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2020
Apple, along with U.S. health insurer Anthem, is preparing to launch a study that seeks to determine whether digital tools like Apple Watch can help manage and control asthma.

Asthma Study
Source: CNBC


Announced on Tuesday during Apple's "Time Flies" hardware launch event, the study will tap into Apple Watch Series 6 blood oxygen sensor data and other health metrics collected by the device.

According to CNBC, U.C. Irvine will conduct a two-year virtual, or remote, study of 900 people with asthma between the ages of 18 and 64. Participants will be required to have a health plan through Anthem or its subsidiaries. Health technology company CareEvolution is in charge of collecting and analyzing resulting data.

Some participants will be supplied with a Beddit sleep monitor and an Apple Watch Series 6 to track a variety of health metrics including heart rate, general activity levels and blood oxygen levels. A control group will not use the Apple devices.

Blood oxygen monitoring is accomplished by a new sensor deployed in the Series 6. Four LED clusters and four photodiodes integrated into a redesigned back crystal emit green, red and infrared light into a user's wrist to glean the color of their blood. Determining blood color allows Watch to calculate blood oxygen levels, an indicator of lung function, a body's ability to efficiently absorb oxygen, and other health measures.

Members of the active group -- those with Beddit and Apple Watch -- will feed data points like daily symptoms and triggers into a "digital asthma tool." This information is used to generate behavioral "nudges." Educational material about how to better manage asthma will also be supplied to participants, the report says. The effort includes videos voiced by Dr. Mike Evans, a YouTube personality who has worked with Apple since 2016.

"We hope this study can help the medical community produce new insights about asthma control and can identify effective digital tools that can help empower people around the world to better manage their condition," Myoung Cha, Apple's Head of Health Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement.

The asthma study will be a first for Apple, though the company has long been investigating technology that could impact how people live with the condition. Last year, for example, Apple purchased asthma monitoring startup Tueo Health. The CEO of that company, Bronwyn Harris, is thought to still work at Apple's health arm.

As noted in the report, Apple could be seeking to legitimize a new type of "digital biomarker" related to asthma. Such a development might prompt Anthem and other insurers to subsidize the cost of hardware like Apple Watch as a customer benefit.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    XedXed Posts: 2,714member
    This is amazing. We're getting to a point where I had envisioned the Apple Watch within a decade of its inaugural reveal.
    doozydozen
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Can the blood oxygen levels be taken every 5 minutes on the AW series 6? Or do you have to manually instigate a reading like you do with ECG? I suffers from intense asthma I need this product to alert me when my levels are dropping before intense physiological symptoms alert me to the problem. 
    Xed
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Xed said:
    This is amazing. We're getting to a point where I had envisioned the Apple Watch within a decade of its inaugural reveal.
    It’s been announced in 2013/14, but deferred and deferred
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Can the blood oxygen levels be taken every 5 minutes on the AW series 6? Or do you have to manually instigate a reading like you do with ECG? I suffers from intense asthma I need this product to alert me when my levels are dropping before intense physiological symptoms alert me to the problem. 
    There was coverage of the feature in Tuesday's presentation.  I suggest skimming that.  IIRC, it appears that you do have to manually initiate a reading, but there was mention of background readings while sleeping.
    doozydozen
  • Reply 5 of 5
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,442member
    Can the blood oxygen levels be taken every 5 minutes on the AW series 6? Or do you have to manually instigate a reading like you do with ECG? I suffers from intense asthma I need this product to alert me when my levels are dropping before intense physiological symptoms alert me to the problem. 
    There was coverage of the feature in Tuesday's presentation.  I suggest skimming that.  IIRC, it appears that you do have to manually initiate a reading, but there was mention of background readings while sleeping.
    Reading could be driven by 3rd party apps, I suppose.
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