When will doctors buy into Apple Watch's AFib potential?

ECG results on Apple Watch Series 4
ECG results on Apple Watch Series 4 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple Watch keeps saving lives while doctors refuse to admit it's up to snuff.

Yesterday I told you about someone whose Apple Watch warned them about an AFIb situation that they weren't already aware of. The notification that the wearer's heart rhythm wasn't what it should be could have saved their life. That's a very real situation. But one thing caught my eye – the doctors' response.

They *scoffed" at the Apple Watch, according to the story.

The doctors at emerg scoffed at the Apple Watch ECG saying it wasn't accurate enough to use as a diagnostic tool. I retorted that at least it warned me to get medical assistance whereas without the watch I could have had a stroke.

This isn't the first time we've heard this, either. On more than a few occasions I've read stories that involved medical professionals telling people that an Apple Watch isn't capable of the readings needed to correctly identify the potential for a heart-related issue. This as, seemingly every month, we're writing about the exact opposite. I can only imagine there are plenty of other instances that aren't finding their way into headlines, too.

Which begs the question – when will medical professionals accept Apple Watch and its ability to detect the potential for AFib? Maybe it need someone to rock up on their doorstep with a watch strapped to their wrist while they have a stroke. Let's hope not.

Apple Watch Afib Notification

Apple Watch Afib Notification (Image credit: u/Merrick63)

Equally concerning is the possibility that doctors are telling people not to get an Apple Watch when asked whether it could be of benefit. At this point, we can all agree that wearing an Apple Watch means you're more likely to be alerted to AFib than not wearing one at all. Surely that's all the information needed, right?

Now, I get it. Doctors don't want thousands of people in their waiting rooms all claiming their Apple Watch told them they're going to die. And that was a valid point when these features first went live. But I've yet to see a story of a hospital being overrun because of Apple Watch false positives.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.