THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Prizmo 5

The Pro Scanner App with Powerful Editing Capabilities


Posts tagged with "health"

Apple’s Cycle Tracking: A Personal Review

The Cycle Tracking app on watchOS and inside Health on iOS.

The Cycle Tracking app on watchOS and inside Health on iOS.

Menstruation is often forgotten or overlooked – ironic considering that 50% of the population experiences it. This applied to health tracking on Apple Watch and iPhone too, which for the first year offered nothing related to menstruation, but this year Apple Watch received a dedicated Cycle Tracking app, and symptom tracking in the Health app which includes fertility tracking as well. The previous absence of this feature was notable, primarily because other competing health trackers like Fitbit offered it a long time ago.

Everyone who menstruates has different needs when it comes to tracking cycles – if you should track birth control, sexual activity, fertility, and more. What I like most about Apple’s implementation of this feature is that you can turn off elements which aren’t useful for you; I’m sure many others will do the same as me and turn off the vast majority of the options. I personally get the impression that a lot of the features are targeting people trying to conceive, and honestly, that’s not me. That said, I’ve spent a few months evaluating this setup, and comparing it to previous systems I’ve tried, and now I’m ready to talk about it.

Read more


Apple Debuts New Research App, Launches Health Studies for Women’s Health, Hearing, and Heart and Movement

Today Apple announced the next phase of its efforts in medical research studies. Following the Heart Study which debuted in late 2017 and shared its first results earlier this year, Apple now has three new studies it’s launching at once, which users can sign up for through a brand new Apple Research app.

“Today marks an important moment as we embark on research initiatives that may offer incredible learnings in areas long sought after by the medical community,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Participants on the Research app have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact that could lead to new discoveries and help millions lead healthier lives.”

Users can enroll in one or more of the new studies: the Women’s Health Study, Heart and Movement Study, and Hearing Study. Each of these uses an iPhone and Apple Watch to collect certain data for the purpose of aiding medical advancements.

Anything health-related can come with plenty of privacy concerns, so the Research app’s on-boarding flow includes a very clear privacy commitment, stated in four points:

  1. Your data will not be sold.
  2. You decide which studies you join, and you can leave the study at any time.
  3. You control which types of data you share, and you can stop sharing your data at anytime.
  4. Studies must tell you how your data supports their research.

Tim Cook on multiple occasions has sought to emphasize how important the issue of health is to Apple. Far from a mere hobby, he’s said he believes health will end up being Apple’s most significant area of contribution to mankind. Studies like these are one way to help push the needle on that goal.


FoodNoms: A Privacy-Focused Food Tracker with Innovative New Ways to Log Meals

FoodNoms is a new privacy-oriented food tracking app that tackles the tedium of logging what you’ve eaten in innovative ways that make it one of the most promising apps in this category that I’ve seen in a long time.

Too often during the year, I find myself eating what’s easy, not what’s healthy. When I sense that happening, the first step I take is to open a food tracking app and log what I’ve been eating. The process imposes the discipline to help get me back on track with healthier eating habits. However, I don’t usually stick with food tracking long, mostly because I find the process tedious.

With FoodNoms, I’ve found it easier to stick with food tracking than ever before. The app’s database of foods seems a little limited compared to other apps I’ve used, and I’d like to see more ways to visualize trends over time added to the app. Still, those limitations are largely made up for by the ability to log portion accuracy and scan nutrition labels, along with the multitude of other ways to log meals. Add FoodNoms’ privacy focus, and I expect it’s going to win over a lot of people.

Read more


NapBot: Simple Sleep Tracking Powered by CoreML

Sleep tracking is an area of health that Apple hasn’t yet formally moved into, but all signs point to that changing soon. iOS 13 saw the company build more advanced wellness tracking features into the Health app, Beddit was acquired by Apple a couple years ago, and very recently the App Store leaked evidence of a Sleep app that is (or was) in development for Apple Watch. But for the time being, anyone interested in sleep tracking with a Watch or iPhone needs a third-party app.

NapBot is one such app, a new debut from the maker of CardioBot that launched in recent weeks. NapBot applies CoreML to perform automatic sleep tracking when you’re wearing an Apple Watch to bed, the results of which you can then view in either the iPhone or Watch apps.

Read more


Health in iOS 13: A Foundation for Apple’s Grand Wellness Ambitions

Apple’s Health app first debuted in 2014 as part of iOS 8. In the five years since its launch, Health has been one of the only iOS apps to receive redesigns every couple of years. The basic purpose of the app has remained the same through those changes, still serving as an aggregation tool for wellness data from sources like the Apple Watch to third-party apps and devices. However, Health’s regular reimagining serves as strong evidence that Apple has never quite felt content with how that original goal was being fulfilled.

It may be too early to cast judgment, but I have a strong suspicion that this year’s rebrand will stick. iOS 13’s Health app finally brings a design that feels intuitive and user-friendly, doing away with complication and creating a streamlined, inviting interface. Simultaneously, this year’s update adds compelling new features related to cycle tracking and hearing health that may hint at an evolving vision for the Health app’s future.

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

Permalink

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.