The new Apple Watch could cause healthcare havoc

Despite FDA approval, the new Apple Watch Series 4 could create false positives, putting pressure on medical infrastructure, critics say


Critics have voiced concerns over the problems that the heart-rate tracker features in Apple's new Apple Watch Series 4 could cause for public health.

Despite the fact it has been cleared by the FDA, the concern is that the heart tracker, which will be worn on the customers wrist, could create false positives causing the wearer to seek unnecessary medical advice. This in turn could put pressure on medical infrastructures, meaning those with genuine heart problems could struggle to be seen in time and receive the care they need.

Additionally, some experts are concerned that using the watch will encourage customers to seek unnecessary treatment with potentially dangerous medication, such as blood thinners.

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The Apple Watch Series 4 is not the first ECG app available on the market, as AliveCor launched its own FDA-cleared mobile device for monitoring heart rate last year, a product which also had its fair share of criticism levelled at it.

"I'm generally all for patients having access to more information about their health. I'd have a hard time saying functionalities like this should be suppressed," said Adam Cifu, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, who published a paper on the potential impact of smartphone atrial fibrillation tools in the wake of AliveCor's release. "On the other hand, I'm very concerned because this will certainly cause false positives. We'll be finding people getting warnings about arrhythmias they don't have, that will cause anxiety in people."

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