Tech companies know that heart disease is the most common cause of death worldwide. This makes the tech we already use every day well suited to becoming geared towards protection. To cash in on the pandemic, companies are developing everything from wearable EKGs to phone cases that claim to measure blood pressure.
Currently, many of these devices are not very accurate. In a study published in The Journal of the American Heart Association researchers found Apple Watch to be the most precise smartwatch. The popular device from Apple being correct just over 91% of the time. The Fitbit charge HR was accurate 84% of the time.
To test the device’s accuracy volunteers were hooked up to EKG machines, alongside the tech being tested and asked to exercise. Study co-author Gordon Blackburn says “at rest all of the monitors did an acceptable job.” This quickly changed as the intensity increased.
Researchers believe this is mainly because of movement from the device. It may slide around, or its sensors may occasionally lose contact with the skin. The dangers posed by these fitness tools is that exercisers may get a greatly underestimated reading causing them to overtrain or train at a dangerous heart rate.
Other technologies, like the doctor prescribed Zio Patch, make accurate heart rate readings available for medical analysis 24/7. Patients though complain about the fuss of having to wear one and report preferring a watch type or a cell phone based monitor.
The above video from C4Tech discusses how a phone based blood pressure monitor works. Although these features are lacking in accuracy today, future models show great promise for cardiovascular risk management.