In the summer of 2016 patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's Patent-Pending Invention Highlights Advancing work on a Tele-Medicine Sessions System." In that report we noted that "HealthKit is also behind new hospital systems like the one from Ochsner Health System, the largest not-for-profit academic medical center in the Gulf South which uses iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to further its mission of innovation in healthcare. In Apple's Ochsner Health System Business Profile we learn that patients who enroll in Ochsner's Hypertension Digital Medicine Program track their health using iPhone, Apple Watch, the Health App, and HealthKit-enabled devices such as the Withings Bluetooth blood pressure cuff.
Yesterday HealthTech posted a report titled "How Ochsner Health Uses the Apple Watch to Keep Patients Healthy."
Commercially available for five years, the Apple Watch received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018 for its electrocardiogram function, which employs machine learning and individual algorithms to detect issues such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). The news sparked wider discussion about the role of wearable consumer devices in medicine.
Ochsner Health System in New Orleans realizes the potential of these devices: It’s the nation’s first healthcare system to leverage the Apple Watch to help manage chronic disease. Dr. Richard Milani, Ochsner’s chief clinical transformation officer, shares four best practices he and his colleagues have learned since implementing the tools in 2015.
- Start small, then expand. The Apple Watch can monitor heart rate, step count and sleep, among other data points. Ochsner first used the smartwatches to aid patients with uncontrolled hypertension by sending medication notifications, clinician feedback and reminders to exercise. A new effort is helping people with AFib, a leading stroke risk, to detect potential episodes before they escalate.
- Equip your care teams. Used inside the hospital, the tool gives providers notice when a patient begins to go downhill, even before signs of trouble surface. “We use AI to notify a dedicated team about an individual that, in the next four hours, has a high risk of deteriorating,” says Milani. When that happens, the appropriate Ochsner physicians are alerted via their Apple Watches.
For the other two steps, see the full HealthTech report here.