The Apple Watch to revolutionise healthcare, but not just yet

Mandi Goodier

Apple Watches look great on and their benefits are going to go much further than skin deep. Find out how this gadget can benefit everyone, from the doctor's diagnosis, to the nurse's schedule, to the right health recommendations for you.

Bigger than the iPhone?

When Apple released their iOS 8.3 update, they thoughtfully added a new Apple Watch app to every single iPhone that was updated. This addition is no doubt an indication of the success Apple expect to have with Apple Watch, which was launched in April 2015.

This may not have been such an arrogant assumption as the stock is in high demand. But is this just another piece of Apple-mania, or could this wearable actually revolutionise healthcare?

 

Health is at hand

The early reviews of Apple Watch got a bit of a bad rap for being little else than a remote control for your iPhone. But such reviewers were also aware that—for all the downfalls of this first generation model—there lies so much potential in the future, and nowhere is that potential more apparent than when it comes to health and wellbeing.

Like many smart watches on the market, the most obvious usage is monitoring exercise and activity. Apple have been preparing us for the arrival of Apple Watch since the launch of its Health app on iPhone6. Health app introduced more health features such as fitness, body measurements, vitals and so on—although its inaccuracies and manual input function left a lot to be desired.

The Watch makes a leap forward, giving more accurate feedback through built in sensors that placed against your body; working with your body and communicating that data to your iPhone.

With Apple’s basic health monitoring the user only gets out what they put in and, of course, the gadget runs the risk of becoming another glorified pedometer. 

A U.S 2014 survey showed that only 65% of users are still wearing their smart watch after 12 months, could this watch be another fad that winds up in your top draw?

It’s doubtful. With a starting price of £299 (ending at £13,500) it's certain that even if it just sits on your wrist, it is doing its job; which is ultimately being a luxury item. But it would be a shame to allow this to be nothing more than just a shiny status symbol; Apple Watch has so much to offer when it comes to health.

 

There's a fantastic health app for that

Apple Watch’s sensor monitoring capabilities are inspiring developers to come up with ground-breaking apps. There are already apps to monitor blood sugar, stress levels and blood pressure, but a lot more is being done to help those with chronic conditions. The impact of these apps may lead to a better quality of life for sufferers.

Although Apple have provided the initial technology, it is really up to developers and health institutions to really elevate the potentialities of this product. With the iPhone and Apple Watch working in conjunction, there are apps which can alert as to an oncoming asthma attack or epileptic seizure. There is even an app in development that uses voice recognition to monitor the early signs of a manic episode in those with bipolar.

 

An app for health administrators?

The next step really should be to step away from the everyday user and look to the administrators of healthcare. With vital signs being transmitted, doctors could be able to prescribe better treatments, and more than this, carers and relatives potentially have the opportunity to keep check on those who are seriously.

The healthcare potentials of this product really lie in how this watch can be used in conjunction with health institutions—from hospitals to surgeries to carers—that will be when the industry really starts to shake up. Not only when it comes to patient data, but it could also be an efficient means to streamline communication between medical workers in larger institutions.

Apple commands a huge amount of power among consumers, so much so that with this product they may be able to change the culture of health in modern day society.

If as many people own an Apple Watch as an iPhone, the amount of data the health sector stands to gain means that Apple Watch could be the facilitator of the largest medical trial ever seen.

However, it seems unlikely with such a sizeable price tag that Apple Watch will have such an impact any time soon.