Apple Watch Series 6 is revealed with enhanced health-tracking features

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Apple Watch 6 comes with health-tracking features

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At its event earlier this week, Apple announced its Series 6 Watch, introducing a hallmark addition to its suite of health tracking features: blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring. Other updates on the newest Watch include a new native sleep-tracking feature, a faster FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, and upgraded heart health monitoring.

The updated features will open the door to wider Watch applications in clinical and research settings. 

Providers can leverage the Apple Watch 6 to access a swath of health data—which could be valuable in improving patient outcomes via early diagnosis. Health systems can integrate Watch-generated health data into electronic health records (EHRs), giving providers a more holistic view of a patient’s health profile: The Watch can constantly gather patient health data that would otherwise be collected at a single appointment.

This can be helpful in identifying risk factors for disease and steering early diagnosis: For example, the Watch’s ECG sensor can aid in early detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is a leading cause of stroke and hospitalization, per the CDC. Further, the Watch’s SpO2 sensor can detect low blood oxygen saturation levels—a common symptom in COVID-19 patients, though studies are in the works to prove whether SpO2 sensors are effective in diagnosing cases of the coronavirus.

The Watch may attract researchers who want to explore how real-time remote health monitoring can inform medical insights. Last year, Apple conducted research with leading institutions to study cardiovascular, hearing, and women’s health using the Apple Watch.

This year, Apple continues to carry the flame: It launched three more collaborations on Watch-driven studies researching how blood oxygen metrics can support management of asthma, heart failure, and early detection of respiratory conditions like the novel coronavirus. Researchers can tap into Apple’s large consumer base to access large samples—which could bolster research and expedite studies.

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Apple also rolled out a virtual fitness subscription service, which aligns with its aggressive expansion in the US digital healthcare space. At the event, Apple also unveiled Fitness Plus—a virtual fitness class subscription that integrates the Watch’s biometric tracking capabilities to offer a personalized experience. This rivals Amazon’s recently unveiled wearable, Halo, which also comes with a subscription service.

We think the all-in-one offering could help Apple foster tie-ups with payers—which have already expressed interest in including wearables in their benefit plans: Just yesterday, CVS Health announced it would be incorporating Apple’s Fitness Plus service into select health plans.

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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