Interview With Apple VP of Health On Apple Watch’s Health Features and Relationship With FDA

Over the last several years, Apple has shown clearly that it is serious about making an impact with its health initiatives through Apple Watch’s Healthcare features which are literally saving lives.

Recently Apple’s VP of Health, Dr. Sumbul Desai was interviewed by MobilHealthNews about Apple’s inroads into health via it’s Apple Watch’s healthcare apps such as the ECG and the fall detection features.

When Desai was asked about the new ECG feature in Apple Watch Series 4, she said that while users are loving this new feature, it is expected that doctors will be concerned how it will effect the whole medical community.  While doctors on one hand are thankful for the ECG’s being mailed to them right away and finding that very helpful, on the other hand they are frustrated because their health systems are still trying to figure out how to handle that incoming data.

She also stated that the feedback that is being received from users is amazing in that they are finding out that they may have atrial fibrillation (a-fib) and are being treated for an issue that may have gone unnoticed until it was too late.

She was also asked how the Apple Watches health features integrates with hospital systems implementation of their Health Records initiative and she said that as an ER physician herself, it is really exciting to see the two blend data, which is so helpful. She said that there is so much potential for the future.

As far as Apple Watch’s fall detection feature, many people believe that it concerns an older demographic rather than all ages of the population, 

while at the same time those typically in the 65 and older age groups don’t usually buy an Apple watch. So is it really a necessary feature?

However, Desai noted that even younger people could have a fall and need immediate help.  For instance, she related her own experience in using a step stool to reach for an item on a higher shelf in her kitchen and losing her balance and falling. 

Desai says that Apple develops products for everyone and quickly added that falling is one of the most common reasons that people go to the emergency room across all ages.

When she was asked about Apple’s relationship to the FDA, she responded by saying that Apple does not receive any special treatment of any kind. In actuality, she said that when applied for license and approval, Apple was asked a lot of really tough questions, but it had the answers for all of them.