Apple shows off AirStrip's vital sign monitoring Apple Watch app

By Brian Dolan
10:31 am
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AirStrip Apple WatchThe very first demo on-stage at Apple's special event yesterday was presented by AirStrip Technologies co-founders Dr. Cameron Powell and Trey Moore. Powell and Moore showed how a doctor could use her Apple Watch to remotely monitor her patients -- in this case pregnant women in labor and delivery wards who are hooked up to fetal heart and contraction monitoring equipment. AirStrip also demo'd how its newest product, Sense4Baby, will be used in combination with the Apple Watch to allow physicians to interact with patients and to remotely review patient-conducted, at-home non-stress tests.

Powell started off by showing how the AirStrip app running on an Apple Watch could help a doctor on their rounds.

"Let's start with a physician who is viewing his daily schedule, making rounds, and communicating with the team," he said. "Now if I look at my Watch face, I can see my next patient. I can notice their diagnosis and I can actually 'time travel' to see what's next. Let's see what happens if a nurse sends me a notification. And within the message itself, I can see the alert, a waveform snippet, vital signs, lab results. The reason that I can immediately see all of this relevant data is because once I have the Watch on, I am securely authenticated until I take it off." 

Powell and Moore then showed that the physician could click on the waveform snipped to receive a real-time stream of that patient's vital signs. From that screen the provider can decide to take action by selecting from a preset list of items, including sending a HIPAA-compliant message to the care team to order a repeat ECG.

AirStrip Apple Watch"Now AirStrip has been used already to monitor 3.5 million pregnant women in the hospital," Powell said. "With our new product, Sense4Baby, we can now monitor these women at home using Apple Watch. Here you see a message from a doctor to a pregnant patient at home asking her to begin monitoring the baby's heart with something called a non-stress test or an NST. Now the mom with the Watch on her wrist and connected to the Sense4Baby sensors on her belly, starts the test. As I can see from this green line, I can confirm that I am monitoring the mother's heart rate as it is being read by Apple Watch, but I can also see the baby's heart rate and the mother's contractions as they are being read from Sense4Baby. So, finally, finally, I can differentiate between the mother's heart rate and the baby's heart rate, which has been a problem for many years with home monitoring. While she is doing this test, she can actually listen to the baby's heart rate right on her wrist."

While Powell briefly mentioned the sensors the mom-to-be had to attach to her belly, he didn't show an image of the Sense4Baby device, which is probably what led to some understandably incredulous reactions on Twitter and elsewhere about how an Apple Watch could detect fetal heart rate. It can't. The Sense4Baby, which AirStrip acquired from West Health last year, device is required for that. AirStrip received FDA clearance to bring Sense4Baby into the patient's home this past April.

Notably, AirStrip OB was the very first iPhone medical app to secure FDA clearance back in 2009 -- the same year the company first appeared on an Apple stage to demo its wares.

Bloomberg caught up with AirStrip CEO Alan Portela to discuss the promotional windfall the appearance on-stage at an Apple event brings to a company. The report notes that AirStrip is eyeing a potential IPO in 2016 among other interesting details -- (read it here).

Apple also revealed a new, bigger screen iPad -- the iPad Pro, which has an optional cover with a built-in keyboard, not unlike Microsoft's Surface Pro. The device was announced alongside a stylus -- the Apple Pencil -- that will also appeal to some enterprise users. One of the demos for the iPad Pro segment of the event was 3D4Medical's striking anatomy app, Complete Anatomy.

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