Technology: How doctors really feel about data from your Apple Watch, Fitbit - PressFrom - US

TechnologyHow doctors really feel about data from your Apple Watch, Fitbit

13:36  14 august  2019
13:36  14 august  2019 Source:

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But doctors are concerned Apple doesn't have the data to back that up. "I think the Apple Watch is an incredibly good tool to engage patients, but it's not a medical device," said Dr . Kevin Campbell, a cardiologist and expert in heart rhythm disorders who has written about the intersection of tech and

How Fitbit could win my loyalty here: the app could actually record how many of those meditations I've done, and when, and for how long, instead of having all record of them vanish into the ether. Thanks for the talk, Fitbit . As usual, you generally make me feel a lot better. May you continue to do so.

We use wearables to count calories, measure heart rates and even rate our quality of sleep.

With healthier living in mind, we purchase kid-friendly versions for our children and step-counting options for grandparents. Apple Watches, Fitbits and other fitness-trackers are everywhere, with data-obsessed users tapping away at tiny screens from the gym to the doctor's office.

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It's clear that consumers love wearables and the information they provide – but do physicians?

Doctors have mixed views on how patients gather and present information from gadgets with quasi-medical aspirations. Most say its a plus that patients can collect and curate more health-related data than ever before. However, bringing printed out pages of calories burned or counted steps to your next check-up isn't exactly advised.

Information overload

In fact, it becomes "just a data dump" at the clinician's office, according to Neel Chokshi, medical director of the sports cardiology and fitness program at Penn Medicine, which has conducted several studies on the relationship between consumers and their wearable devices.

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A prominent feature of the Apple Watch is its health and fitness tracking, which monitors your The Apple Watch sends notifications to let you know how close you are to meeting your exercise goal. The watch itself doesn't have GPS, unlike one of its competitors, the Fitbit Surge. So, if you want to

The Apple Watch lets you utilize Apple Music and podcasts, and 16GB of memory means you can keep your favorite songs from iTunes as well. Both watches also have payment methods right on the wrist with Apple Pay and Fitbit ’s incorporated NFC chip for contactless payment.

Chokshi said some of the information provided by wearables is actually useful for physicians, but most of it is not.

"My hypothesis is (fitness trackers) can be useful for doctors. We just haven’t figured out how to use them quite yet," said Chokshi. While the devices have been marketed as self-help health tools for consumers, "we haven't’ really told doctors how to use this information. Doctors weren't trained on this in medical school."

A story published in the MIT Technology Review echoed Chokshi's sentiments, finding that doctors from a number of specialties are unsure what to do with the data like counted steps.

Apple users have access to the Health app and developers can utilize the HealthKit platform, which offers the ability to track health data including medical records, lab results and medications downloaded directly from medical institutions. Android users have Google Fit to help them and their doctors analyze personal health trends.

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When I purchased an Apple Watch , I was more interested in seeing notifications from my phone than I was the Watch ’s Activity feature. That’s a huge contrast from the Fitbit . With it, you can set step goals and see how far you are from achieving your goal, but it’s up to you to determine what’s realistic

When wearing the Apple Watch , you're given continuous heart rate readings during exercise and can also view your average heart rate for the entire workout once you've You can even go straight to the app from your watch face by adding a complication, as we have below. What Fitbit is right for you?

Products from FitBit, Garmin, and others can monitor a user’s heart rate and notify if it goes too high or too low, and there are several astounding stories out there of fitness trackers alerting people of sudden medical emergencies.

Still, these benefits to patients are often only seen in extreme cases when the device is charged and worn long enough to identify a person's irregular heartbeat.

Unfortunately, often the information isn't easy for doctors to make sense of.

"As clinicians, it can be challenging because these tracings are not very clear. Some can be challenging to interpret. Other times, patients may really inundate (staff) with a lot of tracings to look at," said Shon Chakrabarti, an interventional cardiologist and medical director at Abiomed, which manufactures medical devices for people with heart problems.


Then there’s the looming question of accuracy.

Heart rate measurements, which are a crown jewel of almost all fitness trackers, tend to be the most accurate metric across wearables according to a Stanford study that examined the precision of the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn and the Samsung Gear S2.

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The Apple Watch takes things to the next level. Your goals for the day are split into little circles I like the Apple Watch and how the circles close once they are completed. Even though it’s super simple I currently have a Fitbit and love tracking but I feel the Apple Watch would give you more insight into

The Apple Watch Series 4 is easily the best smartwatch ever made. It’s got GPS, LTE, a near “Our typical user is viewing sleep as being really important to their general wellness and mental health That gives Fitbit a big advantage over Apple Watch and a huge lead in the next groundbreaking and

There's still lots of room for technological error because the trackers measure your heart rate on your wrist rather than closer to your chest and readings can be skewed due to movement and sweat.

None of the seven devices measured energy expenditure (or calories burned) accurately, the study found. Most wearable fitness trackers, with the exception of Apple Watch Series 4's EKG and irregular rhythm notification features, are not cleared by the FDA or approved to diagnose or treat any conditions, so doctors are wary about using the data to treat patients.

"I’d like to see significantly more, large-scale peer-reviewed studies validating the accuracy of the data before we start basing care decisions on the data," said Ripley Hollister, a family medicine specialist who is a board member of the Physicians Foundation.

Hollister also said that race, weight, and even pregnancy can skew the data provided by fitness trackers.

What doctors do care about is streamlined data integration and information that is clinically actionable, Chokshi said. Patients who come into the office with accurate and reliable data about their underlying condition or symptoms could speed things up during medical emergencies.

"A lot of my patients are very regimented folks, and they would keep spreadsheets even if they didn’t have an Apple Watch. The only way we can improve is if we measure," said Chokshi, who treats a wide range of cardiovascular diseases.

Companies have begun providing AI-backed services that help doctors comb through mountains of medical data provided by wearables like the Apple Watch, cutting down the noise in their day-to-day practice. FDA-approved Cardiologs, for example, uses cloud technology and AI to help doctors make actionable decisions based on detailed heart readings.

The founder of Cardiologs, Yann Fleureau, told USA TODAY that fitness trackers are seen as "pre-clinical devices, that enable patients to get to the doctor and start relevant care." Doctors seem to be OK with their patients' affinities with wearables, as long as they recognize that the gadgets are non-certified and that the data is nonclinical.

Both Chakrabarti and Hollister wear Apple Watches.

"All patients should feel empowered to manage their lifestyle with what works best for them," Hollister said. "But whether or not (wearables) lead to improved health outcomes outside of cardiovascular activity remains to be seen."

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