Apple respiratory study to explore if Apple Watch can detect early respiratory infections

Apple Watch Series 6 Blood Oxygen level monitor

Apple respiratory study has started recruiting participants. This study, which was announced last year, is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington and Seattle flu Study to explore if the Apple Watch can predict respiratory illnesses, including early detection of COVID-19.

Participants in the study will be required to wear an Apple Watch and fill out short surveys outlining symptoms via the Apple Research app.

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Apple Watch Series 6 will be used for the study so that researchers can monitor heart rate and blood oxygen levels to detect any early signs of respiratory infection. Apple Watch Series 6 SpO2 sensors

According to the study announcement,

“We currently are recruiting for the study. We are looking for people who live in the greater Seattle area and may have higher than normal risk of respiratory illness because of frequent exposure to other people through work or other activities, health conditions, or other factors.”

This study is similar to the Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab’s COVID-19 Wearables study exploring how wearables can be used for respiratory disease early detection.

Initial phase 1 results from the study were published in March and showed how wearables such as the Apple Watch could be used for early detection.  

Using retrospective smartwatch data, the results showed that 63% of the COVID-19 cases could have been detected before symptom onset in real-time via a two-tiered warning system based on the occurrence of extreme elevations in resting heart rate relative to the individual baseline.

Apple is not alone in exploring the efficacy of the Apple Watch in the early detection of respiratory diseases. Fitbit has partnered up with Scripps Research to study a similar issue, and Stanford recently announced a new study that will explore using Empatica wearables for early disease detection.

Source: Appleinsider

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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