Springfield, Illinois-based Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) has launched a pilot program to examine how nurses and physicians can integrate the Apple Watch into the medical group’s Advanced Medical Home program.
HSHS’ Advanced Medical Home program, which has a total of 1,100 patients, uses nurse navigators to offer specialized care to high-risk patients with chronic diseases. While the patients in this program are also participating in face-to-face visits, the program plans to expand their health monitoring efforts by using the Apple Watch and potentially other healthcare tools.
“When I think about connectivity and using applications and remote monitoring technology, I see two big baskets,” HSHS Medical Group Chief Quality Officer Andrew Bland told MobiHealthNews. “First is the consumer side, which is what the Apple Watch, iPhone, etc exists in. And the second is intensive medical monitoring. For us right now would mean FDA-compliant devices with security and HIPAA protection.”
On the consumer side, Bland said, it would be beneficial for patients to track their health and ask questions if they notice variations in their heart rate, blood pressure, or weight. He explained that while a doctor could look at the data and say ‘Yeah, I think this is absolutely normal, what this shows is your heart rate variability and your exercise intensity are entirely appropriate for what you’re doing. Keep doing this,’ he could also say ‘You know there is some cause for concern with what we’re looking at and we need to do further testing.’
The Apple Watch, which was unveiled in early September, will track movement through a built-in accelerometer and heart rate through optical sensors in the back of the device. It will extrapolate further data from the GPS and WiFi on the user’s iPhone. The Apple Watch is set to launch in early 2015, so the HSHS pilot is planning to begin shortly after its launch. Keep reading>>