Apple developing system to help users track, manage chronic conditions

Apple is working on an integrated health sensor system that could monitor, analyze, and help manage a user’s chronic disease status.

The company’s current health efforts focus on the Apple and its built-in sensor suite. But a new patent application released Thursday suggests Apple is working on other types of health systems that could work in conjunction with the laptop.

Although Apple cites asthma care as an example in the text, it notes that similar health systems could be used to help track hypertension, diabetes, mental illness or other issues. chronic health problems.

As the patent states, the first step in the system would be to collect data about a patient, including their sleep quality or oxygen saturation, and combine it with environmental factors such as demographics or region. This data could then be used to create a “patient-specific model” for monitoring.

Once the model is generated, the system uses various devices to monitor changes in disease status. These sensors could be placed on and around a user, including wearable sensors or other systems in a user’s daily environment.

Examples of places where bed sensors could be placed. Credit: Apple

For asthma patients, for example, this could include “one or more sensors located under a patient’s mattress” to collect heart rate and breathing data while they sleep.

A key aspect is to track changes in these data metrics and compare them to a baseline. From there, the system could detect if a person’s chronic condition is progressing.

This isn’t the first time Apple has worked on sleep-related trackers, but the patent application notes that a bed tracker could take the form of a “disc-shaped device” under the mattress or ‘a small accelerometer placed by the user.

A figure explaining the process of chronic management.  Credit: Apple

A figure explaining the process of chronic management. Credit: Apple

In addition to methods of data collection and analysis, the system can also guide users through questionnaires that track symptoms, medication adherence, and potential triggers.

The inventors of the patent are credited as Bronwyn Harris, Todd Murphy and Michael Carchia. Although none of these appeared in previous Apple patent applications, Harris was named the inventor of other medical patents. Apple filed a first patent application in April 2020.

Apple’s patents make no guarantees that the technology they describe will ever come to light, and they don’t offer any sort of precise timeline for a product release. That being said, Apple has made a steady push in health technology and wellness sensor systems, so this patent is likely an embodiment of Apple’s plans for the region.

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