Apple to test latest smartwatch in detecting abnormal heart rhythms

Apple disclosed Tuesday that it is partnering with Stanford University to test the performance of Apple's new Series 3 Watch in detecting abnormal heart rhythms. Financial terms of the partnership, which according to CNBC also includes telemedicine company American Well, were not disclosed. 

Speaking at Apple Special Event, the company said the research, known as the Apple Heart Study, will test the watch, which features a revamped heart rate monitor, as a replacement for traditional heart sensors, if proven to be accurate and consistent. According to a person familiar with the matter, the study is slated to start later this year. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that "we started working on the Apple Watch several years ago," adding "we were focused on wellness," which "was about activity monitoring and also about performing some measurements of your health that people were not measuring, at least continually. Like your heart." Cook further noted that "very few people wore heart monitors. So when we got into working on the watch we began to realise that the things that we could do were even more profound than that." 

In May, data presented at the Heart Rhythm Society conference suggested Cardiogram's app, which uses the Apple Watch's built-in heart sensor to provide advice about heart health, is accurate 97 percent of the time in detecting abnormal heart rhythms, compared to screening tests performed at the hospital. Greg Marcus, who was involved with the Cardiogram study, said Apple benefits from the real-time access to raw data from its heart rate sensor. He added "that's potentially more powerful," than the signals that third-party developers can access through Apple Watch.

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