Closing in on Detection and Prevention of the "Silent" Epidemic - Heart Disease

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Did you know the apple watch, apps, and new wearable technology on the market are making it so that you can monitor your heart health at home?

By: Melissa Smith, MBA, RDN, LDN

Wearable technology has the potential to lower healthcare costs by up to 16% in the next five years, according to Forbes. Wearables, a market set to grow to $52 billion this year, is one of the most innovative and promising sectors of healthcare. Apple is currently leading the charge in tackling heart health, funding one of the largest atrial fibrillation studies to date.

The Apple Heart Study, Large-Scale Assessment of a Smartwatch to Identify Atrial Fibrillation, is completely virtual with no in-person visits. This study is among the first to target the general population, using a broad cohort who have downloaded the app and can participate from home. Apple recruited over 400,000 participants in under 9 months with all enrollment, consent, participation, monitoring, and evaluation done virtually. This large-scale study may become a new framework for detecting atrial fibrillation with wearable technology and telehealth delivery methods.

The Apple watch uses photoplethysmography (PPG) to screen for pulse irregularity (atrial fibrillation), with a sophisticated algorithm designed to minimize false positives. New technology, such as this PPG, may allow for early detection and prevention of cardiovascular conditions. There may be a time very soon where all dietitians are integrating this technology in their practice.

Melissa Smith MBA, RDN, LDN is a Private Practice & Communications Consultant and Founder of RD Network. Melissa is a member of the NI DPG and volunteers on the Communication Committee.