Smart Care For Heart Disease Patients During and Post-Pandemic
Wearable devices are pushing patient-centered care and remote patient monitoring to the next level. As a leader in wearable devices, the Apple Watch has been a top choice for many. Especially now, during a pandemic, people are reconsidering the relationship between technology and healthcare.
Below is a recent interview between KURA’s in-house doctor and a patient. They discuss the benefits of the Apple Watch and KURA’s solutions in terms of a heart disease patient’s healing journey both during and post-pandemic.
Question1: What features in the Apple Watch make it valuable for heart disease patients?
Patient: Analyzing heart rate, especially the resting heart rate, is crucial to me. Not only can it show the baseline of my heart function, but it can also carry valuable information about the likelihood of a viral infection. Scientific evidence has already demonstrated a secure connection between heart rate and infection; the Apple Watch is a perfect tool for providing that kind of information. Besides, its ECG function gives me a greater insight into my heart health and helps me manage health effortlessly.
Doctor: In my viewpoint, the beauty of the Apple Watch, especially its FDA-approved ECG feature, is to give the freedom back to the patient, that is, measuring and understanding one’s heart and health. Apple’s single-lead ECG is trustworthy in terms of informing patients and assisting clinicians in decision making.
For heart disease patients, the Apple Watch ECG function is even more valuable. Heart disease patients are prone to cardiac electrical disturbance. Traditionally, we as clinicians relied on 24 or 48 hours of continuous ECG monitoring, for example, a Holter monitor, to detect this kind of episode. However, with an Apple watch, a patient can take measurements anytime, anywhere. This provides clinicians another angle to observe patients’ heart health outside the clinical setting. That is where its value shines.
Question2: How has KURA leveraged the Apple Watch into your care solution?
Patient: Apple Watch has sufficient information about personal health, like heart rate, ECG, and the number of steps walked. All that information, along with the reported symptoms, can provide a lot of insights to me so that I can manage my health better. Also, a single data point can only carry so much value. It is better when you can view health data as a trend, and that’s extremely valuable to my care team. KURA helps patients collect all this information and make it accessible for both patients and care providers, facilitating smart communication.
Doctor: Despite the advanced features of the Apple Watch, KURA believes that care solutions should be holistic. To maximize the value provided by the Apple Watch, Kura works hard not only on the ECG analysis but also on seamless integration. Our robust ECG analysis algorithms can distill the critical physiological components out of an abundance of information from the Apple Watch ECG. By seamlessly transferring data from the Apple Watch, KURA aims to create a compelling and effortless workflow for patients.
Last but not least, KURA understands that just by looking at a few numbers can hardly tell a complete story. Patients’ concurrent symptoms must be taken into consideration. Therefore, we created an easy-to-find symptom checker for patients. All these efforts are devoted to supporting our customers so they can take control of their journey towards healing.
Question3: What role does A.I. play in KURA’s patient solution?
Patient: Being a patient already means bearing a lot of work and worry on my shoulders. It’s good to have more information about my health, but not too much. A.I. can help me by trimming ocean-size health information into a manageable size. A.I. can also extract essential insights from data for me so I wouldn’t have to go through everything. That insightful information helps me in communicating with my physicians.
Doctor: A.I. is well-known for digesting lots of information and achieving human-like or superior-to-human behaviors. The way we leverage A.I. is a two-fold process.
The first layer exists in ECG analysis. By feeding our algorithms sufficient well-labeled data, our algorithms can derive more and more intel from an ECG, which can be further applied in our mobile health app, WellySpace.
The second layer is found in patient interaction. A thorough collection of the patient’s condition outside of the clinical setting enables KURA’s empathetic A.I. to create more interactions with our users, which conveys crucial health-related information and improves users’ compliance. These unique features not only demonstrate our technological capability but also enhance our core value, patient-centered thinking.
Question4: How can the Apple Watch help heart disease patients during and post-pandemic?
Patient: To me, the pandemic is likely going to constrain a lot of healthcare resources, and heart disease patients will receive less in-hospital care. Plus, heart disease patients should avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital to prevent viral infection. Therefore, care traditionally performed in the hospital is likely to move into the patient’s home. The Apple Watch, no doubt, is the most widely accepted wearable device that can effectively collect people’s health data. I believe that its ECG capability will play a central role when we are reshaping the healthcare system after the pandemic.
Doctor: In the US, medical accessibility has been an unsolved issue for a long time. During isolation, this issue becomes more prominent because patients are afraid of visiting a clinic or a hospital. Therefore, telemedicine seems like the right solution. However, it will not be possible without patient measurements. The question is, then, how can a patient provide reliable physiological parameters to describe their health condition accurately? And, how can a medical decision be made if both providers and patients are not on the same page?
The Apple Watch, as a pioneer, sheds light here. It empowers patients by enabling measurements to be taken anywhere. The recent pandemic has indirectly validated the need for telemedicine. Patients are now aware of the need and tools to manage their health remotely. I believe that even after the pandemic, patients will continue to utilize home-based monitoring devices to inform their health.
However, the Apple Watch is not a complete solution alone. Any measurement must be interpreted in its context. For example, when a fast heart rate is recorded, the next question should be, whether a user is exercising or at rest. Different answers to this question will lead to various medical decisions in different clinical acuity.
Therefore, heart disease patients’ cardiac health has to be frequently assessed, as well as systematically collected along with concurrent symptoms, to inform the patient and the clinician in an organized fashion. This is where KURA shines.