New report details Apple's new asthma study with Anthem and U.C. Irvine

Apple Watch Series 6 Aluminum Blue Case Close Up
Apple Watch Series 6 Aluminum Blue Case Close Up (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is teaming up with health insurer Anthem and U.C. Irvine on a new asthma study.
  • The study will include nine-hundred participants.
  • Each will receive a Beddit sleep monitor and Apple Watch to collect data.

Reported by CNBC, Apple is teaming up with Anthem and U.C. Irvine to study the relationship between blood oxygen levels and asthma. The study is set to last for two years, and Apple hopes to use the results to potentially build out a new feature in the Apple Watch that could help those with asthma to manage their condition.

Warris Bokhari, Vice President of Digital Care Delivery at Anthem, says that the insurer hopes that the study may help those with asthma manage their condition more proactively, meaning that they will need to use the healthcare system less.

"We know individuals enrolled in Medicaid disproportionately bear the burden of asthma, often resulting in relying on the healthcare system more ... Having this makeup of study population will help us ensure our outcomes are representative."

Myoung Cha, Apple's Head of Health Strategic Initiatives, says that Apple hopes that the study may yield data that can be used to help Apple Watch detect asthma symptoms before they get serious.

"We hope this study can help the medical community produce new insights about asthma control and can identify effective digital tools that can help empower people around the world to better manage their condition."

The study will include nine-hundred participants between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four. They will need to be a member of an Anthem associated healthcare plan and own an iPhone. The study will be providing a Beddit sleep monitor and Apple Watch to all of the participants in order to collect all of the data researchers are looking for.

Health experts are encouraged by the new study, but do warn that it alone may not be enough the bring the kind of asthma-monitoring feature many would expect to get out of their Apple Watch.

"It certainly will be effective at sending nudges, but whether these lead to modification of behavior or ultimately alarm fatigue and discontinuation is to be determined," said Sachin Gupta, a pulmonologist based in San Francisco, who treats patients with asthma. "The studies of smartphones in asthma have been limited so far by small size and by not being controlled."

The new study is looking to use the new Apple Watch Series 6 and its new blood oxygen monitoring feature, which is releasing to the public on Friday.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.