December 12, 2018 Article

How Did My Watch Become a Medical Device?

By Katrina Long

The announcement on September 12, 2018, that the Apple Watch, Series 4, will have proactive health monitoring, including electrocardiogram (ECG) features, may leave lawyers (and patients) thinking about what the future of health care will look like. The new Apple Watch features a digital crown with built-in electrodes, which, when paired with an ECG app, can read the user’s heart’s electrical signals after only a 30-second touch. Apple touts that the data can warn users when the readings show irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and unusually high or low heart rates. The data could alert users to serious heart problems and, in Apple’s words, serve as a platform for “better-informed conversation[s] about [a user’s] health.”

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