London hospital pilots Apple Watch for chemo patients

By Jonah Comstock
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MedoPad Apple watchA London hospital is the latest to put the Apple Watch to use within its walls, this time to improve medication management and adherence for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. According to a report from Wareable, King's College Hospital will be the first to pilot an app from Medopad, a British company that also makes tablet-based mobile health technology.

"Cancer treatment is a challenging journey," Dr Siamak Arami, a Consultant Haematologist at King’s College Hospital, told The Journal of mHealth last month, when Medopad launched the app. "Adherence to complicated treatment regimens, and the streamlined recording and reporting of health issues during treatment are of paramount value. Medopad's Apple Watch chemotherapy application is an exciting new development in medical technology that can transform the quality and safety of care for patients, carers and care providers. This can eventually reduce the cost and improve the outcome of treatment for cancer patients."

The app will combine medication reminders, served via haptic feedback, with data sharing directly to physicians via Apple HealthKit. The app will automatically share activity data, and patients will be able to submit data about symptoms and temperature. This is valuable, because if patients have a negative reaction to a drug, doctors can adjust prescriptions on the fly based on the realtime data pouring in from the app.

The hospital provides the Apple Watches directly to patients -- one or two for now, but as more watches become available, the plan is to deploy 100 or more. Medopad CTO Dan Vahdat told Wareable that in the context of chemotherapy treatments, the price of an Apple Watch is negligible.

"After the treatment is over, another patient can use the Apple Watch so it could work out at £50 [$78] per patient," he said. "When you compare that to chemotherapy treatments and the fact that one pill could cost £1,000 [$1,575] per day it's worth it."

Medopad and the National Health Service plan to roll out the app to a number of other hospitals in England and in China as well. Medopad has raised about $2.8 million since it was founded in 2011 and investors include strategics like Bayer, Intel and Vodafone. It was also a member of Healthbox London in 2013.

In other Apple Watch news, Hello Heart, an Apple Watch app for tracking heart health and managing hypertension, released some early usage data this week. The company looked at differences in behaviors between the Apple Watch users and the users of their iPhone app.

They found that the number of users tracking blood pressure with the app was 52 percent higher for the Apple Watch, and that 2.5 times as many people opted into daily reminders to check their blood pressure on the Watch than the iPhone.

Additionally, the daily retention rate of Apple Watch users is 55 percent higher than for iPhone users, even going into the second week. Apple Watch users have already added 67 percent more medical data into the app than iPhone-only users.