Life Tech The Apple iWatch could be like a mobile GP

The Apple iWatch could be like a mobile GP

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The future has arrived. Rumours abound that Apple is set to announce a new smart wristwatch which will constantly monitor a series of health measurements, including things like blood oxygen levels, calorie consumption and sleep activity.

Dr Brian Morton, chair of the Australian Medical Association Council of General Practice, says even though the product could sufficiently monitor elements such as calories burned, kilometres walked and general fitness measurements, he raised concerns about accuracy.

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The release of the iWatch, as Apple is calling it, is expected to be integrated with the Apple’s new iOS 8 and a health app known as “Healthbook”, which will work in tandem to keep records and data on your daily health and fitness.

iWatch Concept from Todd Hamilton on Vimeo.

iWatch and Healthbook is not a doctor

Rhenu Bhuller, senior vice president of healthcare for Frost & Sullivan, a market research company on the forefront of new medical technology says such technology would be a guide, not a guarantee.

“It may tell you something’s wrong and then it gives you a call to action to go see a pharmacist or a physician,” he says.

“The message has got to be, these are monitoring tools–they’re not diagnostic– they’re perhaps a guide to getting a more robust test to be done,” Morton said.


What the iWatch will do

If forecasts are correct, Apple will release its iWatch sometime in October in conjunction with its new iOS 8 software.

Below is a list of what Apple says the iWatch could measure:

• Heart rate
• Calories burned
• Blood sugar level
• Blood pressure
• Sleeping activity
• Hydration levels
• Calories burned
• Track weight loss
• Heart rate

Dr Morton emphasised his criticism on how blood sugar levels would be measured and said, “if this technology is so sufficient, why aren’t pathology experts or diabetes experts using it?”

Tech shapes the medical landscape

Believe it or not, this is not another ingenious move by Apple to come forward with some ground-breaking technology like the iPhone or iPad, instead it marks, what Bhuller is calling a “new frontier” in communication technology tied in with the medical world.

“It’s really an area for these companies, now, to go into a next phase of growth,” Bhuller says.

Over the years companies like Apple, Samsung, Google and Qualcomm have all been moving into the medical tech world as the tipping point into a tech savvy medical industry is inching closer.

“Consumers are the easiest to get on board because they want to know more about their health,” Bhuller explains.


Trust the key to success 

As with any market-driven products, the success of products such as the iWatch lies in consumer behaviour and trust, says Bhuller.

“Although trust is a major factor, another big factor is consumer behaviour,” he says.  “All these don’t work if the consumer actually doesn’t use the feedback or the output or the guidance they are getting to change behaviour.”

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