FDA clears Apple Watch ECG for remote patient visits during pandemic: 6 things to know

The FDA expanded the use of noninvasive patient-monitoring technologies, including the electrocardiogram app for the Apple Watch.

Six things to know:

1. The expanded indications allow clinicians to use the Apple Watch as a remote monitoring ECG device during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare providers can access the expanded capability of Apple's ECG app for telemedicine services for the rest of the pandemic.

2. The Apple Watch now can serve as a substitute for in-clinic diagnostic testing, and healthcare providers can use it for clinical cases where the single-lead or lead 1 ECG tests can help diagnose some arrhythmias or conditions.

3. The app shouldn't be used for triaging emergency clinical situations, according to the report, which would include suspected heart attack or respiratory distress requiring immediate attention. Clinicians and patients also shouldn't rely on the app alone when making a diagnosis.

4. To connect via telemedicine, the clinician can identify the visit through video, telephone or asynchronous email and then request that the patient record through the ECG app on the Apple Watch. Patients can also input symptoms into the app.

5. Patients can export a PDF with their waveform recording, classification and symptoms to their medical record. To integrate with the Epic EHR, patients need to share the PDF of their ECG findings in a MyChart message, and it will automatically appear in the Epic chart. The PDF is sent to the clinician's in basket to view and automatically populates information in other areas of Epic.

6. Information gathered on the Apple Watch is stored encrypted on the patients' device, and only the users can share data. If the patient syncs Apple Watch data with iCloud, it will still be encrypted while in transit and at rest.

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