Algorithm developed by Cardiogram and UCSF has been successful in detecting afib 90% of the time.
SAN FRANCISCO – Cardiogram hopes the results of a study launched this year will advance the company’s goal of making sensor data from the Apple Watch more useful in a clinical context.
The health tech startup has been working with the University of California San Francisco’s Health eHeart program on a study called mRhythm to see if data from an Apple Watch can accurately detect conditions like atrial fibrillation. More than 10 billion sensor measurements from more than 100,000 contributors have already been collected, with a goal of at least 10,000 additional contributors.
“This is the very first baby step to using the Apple Watch as a medical device that can affect people’s lives,” said Brandon Ballinger, co-founder of Cardiogram.
The Cardiogram app organizes raw data gathered from an Apple Watch, like a measurement of the user’s heart rate once every five minutes. It then takes that data and puts it into easily understandable real-time graphs, both short-term and long-term. It also gives the user access to the underlying metrics.
Currently, an algorithm developed by Cardiogram and UCSF has been successful in detecting afib 90% of the time, but the accuracy must be higher for clinical use, Ballinger said.
Apart from the study, patients are using the app as part of their physician’s care plan or as a way to monitor their own health. Heart attack patients, for example, are using the app to keep track of their heart rates as they begin exercising again after a cardiac event, Ballinger said.
“Atrial fibrillation is hard to detect without continuous monitoring,” he said. “Cardiogram shows when behaviors are triggering abnormal heart health, prompting users to seek further medical treatment.”
By using the app, patients may also be able to avoid visits to the emergency room and reduce hospital admissions, Ballinger said.
“Unlike a heart attack, if you’re in atrial fibrillation, you don’t necessarily have to call an ambulance,” Ballinger said. “If you get treatment soon, you’re actually doing pretty well.”