Stanford Medicine is trying to find out if information from wearable devices, like Apple Watch, can be used to detect infectious diseases like COVID-19. Stanford hopes to be able to predict the onset even before any symptoms start.
A logical progression of how wearables in the past few years have increasingly blurred the boundary between wellness tech and medical devices. Apple Watches and a few other smartwatches can now take electrocardiograms – a test that can measure the electrical activity of your heartbeat – straight from the wrist. But wearables have mostly focused on things like sleep, reproductive health, and heart disease. Detecting infectious diseases is newer territory, and arguably not something [for which] these devices were really designed.
It might sound like science fiction, but there’s reason to believe wearables could be useful in detecting infections. Whether researchers can figure it out in time to make a difference against covid-19 is another story…
There is credible evidence that wearables might be able to help us better understand, and in the best-case scenario, early detect infectious diseases. But there are also a lot of unanswered questions and unknown variables that make it hard to say with certainty that wearables will be helpful right now. Even if a breakthrough is found, it’s not evident that’ll change how public health officials approach this pandemic… What’s needed is more testing – which is what health officials have been repeating ad nauseam since this all began.
MacDailyNews Note: Stanford Medicine is currently looking for people who own a wearable device and:
• Have had a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or
• Have been exposed to somebody who has known or suspected COVID-19, or
• Are at higher risk of exposure (like healthcare workers or grocery store workers).
More info and to enroll in Stanford University’s study to find out how wearable devices can track infectious diseases like COVID-19 here.