Is the Apple Watch The Future of First Aid

Is the Apple Watch the Future of First Aid?

As well as being this years must have gift, the Apple Watch has some serious health functionality.

In its current form, the Apple Watch gathers the heart rate and activity of the wearer.

In the future, Apple hopes it will do more.

“Healthcare providers can deliver the best care when they have powerful, intuitive tools. The result is care that becomes more efficient, more personalized, and ultimately more human.”
Apple.com – https://www.apple.com/healthcare/

Apple and Aetna (an American insurance giant with 23 million customers) held secretive talks back in August 2017 to discuss the future of the Apple Watch, with features such as passive blood glucose monitoring discussed.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple highlighted the health market as “the biggest one of all,” According to Cook, devices like the Apple Watch and services like Research Kit and the Health app are part of a market that’s “significantly underestimated.”

The hope (or hype) is that wearables and digital technology will transform healthcare by passively monitoring, proactively advising and even contacting a first aider in a medical emergency.

Technology and First Aid Today

Apple’s focus on healthcare has already saved lives.

It used to be the case that we were encouraged to add an “In Case of Emergency” or ICE number to our contact list. This would be the person we would want to be called if we were found unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

However, as smart phones have taken over, that hold increasingly sensitive data, it is usual for them to be locked, and only accessible with a passcode, fingerprint or similar. So this renders the ICE number in your contact book useless.

We’ve published two blogs explaining how to get around this problem by adding Emergency Contact Information to your smart phone.

This one for Setting Up Emergency Contact information on iPhones, and this one for Android devices

Our First Aid Feature Requests

Increasing numbers of people are now wearing smart watches. Most now include accurate heart rate monitors, temperature sensors and more, as these become more reliable over time, we’d like to see some intelligent features added via the associated App:

  • Displaying a recent heart rate graph could show how a casualty’s pulse is behaving over time, a very useful indicator of a vital sign that is notoriously difficult to measure accurately as a lay person.  Shown in the Medical ID App, alongside temperature over time would put all the important information in one place.
  • Detecting a lower or stopped pulse rate and automatically displaying the Medical ID on the phone screen after a double check alert to ensure that the user hadn’t simply removed their watch.

These and many other potential features will be incredibly difficult to create in a reliable way, but the technology is mostly there, or will be soon.  Watch this space…. (Pun fully intended!)

About The Author

Tom Durham

Tom has 10 years of experience as a first aid trainer / assessor and over 20 years experience of outdoor sports instruction and coaching internationally. Prior to becoming a founder of the First Aid Training Co-operative, Tom grew a successful business delivering predominantly outdoor / remote first aid courses across Scotland, using his experience to help others in the outdoor industry improve their skills. Tom is a graduate of the Rural Leadership Programme and also runs a mountain bike trail design consultancy. He continues to work internationally, dividing his time between Scotland and the Italian Alps.