If you have an Apple Watch (series 1, 2 or 3)—or if you're putting it on your holiday list this year—you can now participate in research without doing anything other than strapping the watch to your wrist every morning. And the benefits of joining the study may offer you some incredibly valuable insight into your heart health.
Apple just announced the app, a research study that will use the watch's heart rate sensor to collect data on heart rhythms. The most helpful part about this initiative is that the app will notify you if it senses irregular heart rhythms, which could indicate atrial fibrillation, an irregular or rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke. (Afib is responsible for approximately 750,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year and contributes to about 130,000 deaths.)
What's more, Apple is partnering with Stanford Medicine on the research, and if an irregular heart rhythm is identified in your data, you'll receive a free video consultation with a primary care physician through (a telehealth provider) and an electrocardiogram patch for extra monitoring.
This type of data tracking—combined with notifications—is particularly useful for an issue like atrial fibrillation because the condition is often hard to recognize or identify on your own. Some people don't have any symptoms and don't even realize they have it until it's discovered during a physical exam, according to the .
If you're interested in signing up, download the in the iTunes store. You must be 22 years or older to participate.