Smartwatches might be smarter than what people thought. A recent study found multiple pieces of evidence suggesting smartwatches are capable of detecting COVID-19 symptoms well before a person becomes aware that they have been infected by the virus.
The study was conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where 297 healthcare workers were tested for the study.
How do Smartwatches help?
Inflammation in the infected areas of the body is one of the early symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. When the inflammation begins, the human body responds to it by slightly altering the blood flow. The change in the flow of blood results in slight changes in the heartbeat, which is easy to detect for a smartwatch of the modern era.
A Bit about the Study…
Healthcare workers in the Mount Sinai Health System were included in an ongoing observational study that included detection of COVID-19 symptoms using smartwatches. All the participants wore smartwatches for the duration of the study following the measurement of heart rate variability (HRV), which characterizes changes in autonomic nervous system function.
A smartwatch notes a person’s heartbeat over a long period. It helps the watch create a normal baseline for a person. As a result, the smartwatch can detect prolonged changes in a heartbeat, like sustained heart rate variability. In the study mentioned above, people were asked to wear the watch, which was able to detect two-third of the infected people at an average of seven days before there were any noticeable symptoms.
Researchers find this method to be more benefitting than testing. It is not possible to conduct a COVID-19 test on people all the time. Whereas, most people wear smartwatches all the time, which helps them monitor their heart rate. As a result, the data received in real-time, which is not possible for tests.
Apart from the above advantage, researchers claim that the smartwatch app can be designed in such a way that it might alert the person of COVID-19 symptoms, who can self-quarantine themselves. The process can slow down the spread of the current pandemic, and that might occur in the future.