Busy Hospital Corridor

What can an Apple Watch do for patients in a clinical setting? Some hospitals are already trying to find out, according to an article by Dan Diamond for the Advisory Board. One hospital in New Orleans gave one to a patient with high blood pressure, as part of a program to improve medication adherence and to encourage positive lifestyle changes. Treatment adherence is also the goal behind a program at King’s College Hospital in London, England, where doctors hope to provide 100 chemotherapy patients with Apple Watches. In addition to helping patients take their medication as prescribed, the program also hopes to track patient temperature and symptom data better.

One problem with these programs is that Apple Watches are still in short supply, so it is difficult to get enough units in order to equip enough subjects to produce meaningful results. According to the article, King’s College was only able to obtain a “handful” of watches at this point for their study.

Others raise questions about the cost of these devices. At $350 for the lowest-cost version, it requires a sizable investment to provide an entire group of study subjects with the devices. The cost may actually be low, however, in context. As the article points out, a single dose of some chemotherapy drugs can cost $1,500; spending a fraction of that amount on a smartwatch to improve patient adherence could be a wise investment. Also, a single watch can be passed along to other patients as they complete a treatment regimen, so the expense can be spread out in time over many subjects.