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Posts tagged with "health"

Calory Review: Simple, Convenient Calorie Tracking

In my estimation, there are two types of nutrition-tracking apps on the App Store: those for users who want full control of all nitty-gritty details regarding what they consume, and those for people like me who just want to do simple calorie-tracking. Calory, a new iOS app from the makers of WaterMinder, HealthView, and HabitMinder, falls strictly in the latter category. While you can optionally track certain statistics like fat, carbs, and protein, the primary purpose of Calory is convenient calorie tracking – and the app excels at that.

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Apple Watch’s ECG App and Irregular Rhythm Notification Expand Across the Globe

Yesterday Apple released watchOS 5.2, lagging just a couple days behind iOS 12.2. For users in the United States, there isn’t much worth noting about this latest Watch update, but it’s a different story around the world. Apple’s press release highlights the health-related features it brings support for:

The ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4, a direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, is available in Hong Kong and 19 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. In addition to receiving De Novo clearance in the US from the FDA, the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification are now CE marked and cleared in the European Economic Area.

The ECG app is limited to Apple Watch Series 4, while users of the Series 1 or later will benefit from the irregular rhythm notification, a feature that requires first opening the iPhone’s Health app to enable it.

Countries that now support the ECG app: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, US and US Virgin Islands.

Apple can often launch a feature or service in the US, then be extremely slow to roll it out elsewhere (see: Apple News). For health features like these though, I think it’s particularly important for Apple to prioritize global expansion, despite the huge amount of red tape that must be worked through. Access to a new media service like Apple News or TV is nice, but the work being done with Apple Watch has the potential to be life-changing. I hope we continue to see these features spread as far and wide as possible.

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Stanford Medicine Presents Results of the Apple Heart Study

Over 400,000 people participated in the Apple Heart Study, which used the Apple Watch to collect irregular heart rhythm data from participants for eight months. When an irregular rhythm was detected and suggested the possibility of arterial fibrillation, the Watch sent the user a notification. Study participants who got the notification were contacted telephonically by a doctor and given an electrocardiogram patch for further monitoring.

This weekend, Stanford Medicine reported the results of the study at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session and Expo in New Orleans. The study showed that 0.5% of participants received irregular rhythm notifications putting to rest concerns in some quarters that the Apple Watch’s sensor would overburden health professionals with false positives. In a press release, Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer said:

We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope consumers will continue to gain useful and actionable information about their heart health through Apple Watch.

We’re still in the early days of the potential healthcare benefits of wearable devices like the Apple Watch, and it’s encouraging to see results like these, which show the potential good that can come from arming people with information to help them get the care they need.



Apple’s Health Records on iPhone Coming to Veterans

Apple today announced that its Health Records feature is coming soon to all U.S. veterans thanks to a partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The announcement includes key quotes from Apple executives that highlight the growing importance of health to Apple as a company.

“When patients have better access to their health information, they have more productive conversations with their physicians,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “By bringing Health Records on iPhone to VA patients, we hope veterans will experience improved healthcare that will enhance their lives.”

“Our goal is to empower people to better understand and improve their health, enabling them to view their medical information from multiple providers in one place easily and securely,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “We’re excited to bring this feature to veterans across the US.”

First introduced as part of iOS 11.3, Health Records is an iPhone feature whereby users’ patient records from participating hospitals and clinics can be stored in the Health app for easy access. Today’s news is significant largely for the expanded scope it brings to the feature. From the press release:

Health Records on iPhone will be the first record-sharing platform of its kind available to the VA, which is the largest medical system in the United States providing service to more than 9 million veterans across 1,243 facilities.

It’s a smart partnership for Apple, and one that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of U.S. veterans.

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Apple to Celebrate Heart Month in February with Activity Challenge and Today at Apple Sessions

Apple announced this morning two ways it plans to celebrate Heart Month in February. First, a new Activity Challenge for Apple Watch users will run from February 8-14, rewarding those who close their Exercise ring each day of that week-long period with a special badge and iMessage stickers. Second, Apple will be utilizing its retail Today at Apple sessions to educate consumers on their heart health.

In recognition of Heart Month, Apple will host special Today at Apple sessions, “Heart Health with Apple,” in stores in New York, Chicago and San Francisco with celebrity fitness trainer Jeanette Jenkins, Sumbul Desai, MD, Apple’s vice president of Health, Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, Jay Blahnik, senior director of fitness for health technologies, and Julz Arney and Craig Bolton from the Apple Fitness Technologies team. Attendees will hear a discussion about heart health and participate in a new Health & Fitness Walk, which was co-created with Jeanette for participants to take a brisk walk with Apple Watch around their community.

These special sessions will be limited to a single session each in the three listed cities, with Apple Union Square hosting on February 11 at 6:00pm, Apple Williamsburg on February 21 at 4:30pm, and Apple Michigan Avenue hosting the final session on February 27 at 6:00pm.

Health is an area of growing importance to Apple, as the evolution of the Apple Watch over its life has shown. Because of that, educating users on heart health via Today at Apple seems like a natural move for the company. And it’s a safe bet we’ll start seeing more health-focused sessions introduced in the future.


Apple Partners with Aetna to Create Personalized Watch App

Aetna, the health insurance provider, has announced a new Apple Watch app forthcoming for its customers that was developed in partnership with Apple. The app, named Attain, will serve as a way to track fitness data and provide an incentive for healthy living. Joe Rossignol has the details for MacRumors:

Through the use of an Apple Watch, the Attain app will provide Aetna members with personalized goals, track their daily activity levels, and recommend healthy lifestyle choices. For completing these actions, participants will earn points, which can be put towards the cost of an Apple Watch or gift cards.

Attain will motivate participants to complete personalized daily and weekly activity challenges based on their age, gender, and weight. Attain’s definition of activity includes walking, running, swimming, yoga, and other activities that can be tracked in the Workout app on the Apple Watch.

We’ve seen Apple partner with insurance providers in the past to offer the Apple Watch free or subsidized to its members, but this is a different spin on that approach, focusing more on continuous incentives for active lifestyles.

Tim Cook recently stated that health would end up becoming Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind, a bold claim that indicates we’ll continue to see more announcements along these lines moving forward.

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AutoSleep 6: Effortless Sleep Tracking More Accessible Than Ever

If you’ve followed MacStories for long, you probably already know that AutoSleep is one of our favorite sleep tracking apps on iOS. The app stands out for offering a frictionless, effort-free experience. Where other sleep trackers may require you to start and stop sleep tracking manually, AutoSleep takes the burden of remembering those tedious tasks off your plate. If you wear an Apple Watch to sleep, the app will automatically detect your sleep patterns even without a separate Watch app installed. If you don’t have a Watch, or simply don’t wear it to bed, the app will track your sleep through other methods. Whatever your habits are, AutoSleep has you covered.

Today marks the debut of AutoSleep’s latest major iteration: version 6.0, which introduces new wellness features, refined graphs and color schemes, sleep hygiene trends, Siri shortcuts, an improved Watch app, and more. It’s an extensive update that simplifies some aspects of the app while branching out into fresh, innovative areas of health tracking.

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The Electrodes Used by Apple’s ECG Watch App Enable Faster, More Accurate Heart Rate Measurements

On 9to5Mac, Zac Hall breaks down how the new electrodes work in the Apple Watch Series 4 based on details published by Apple when it updated watchOS last week with the new ECG app. For now, the ECG app is only available in the US, but that doesn’t mean that others can’t benefit from the hardware that it uses. As Hall explains:

According to Apple, putting your finger on the Digital Crown to capture a heart rate reading also measures faster and with more accuracy as it updates every second versus every five seconds while the measurement is active.

That’s because placing your finger on the Digital Crown completes a circuit between your heart and arms that allows the Watch to record electrical impulses across your chest.

It will take time for the ECG app to gain the approval of regulators worldwide. However, in the meantime, it’s nice to know that the hardware that makes the ECG app possible is enhancing heart rate capture for everyone.

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