Apple Watch can monitor the frailty of cardiovascular patients at home

It could save patient the trouble of visiting the doctor.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

The Apple Watch on your wrist might serve as a vital medical monitoring tool in the right circumstances. According to MyHealthyApple and MacRumors, Stanford researchers funded by Apple have determined that the Apple Watch can accurately gauge the frailty (or rather, the distance traveled in a six-minute walk) of cardiovascular disease patients while they're at home. Personal smartwatch use was nearly as good as an in-clinic test, Stanford's study revealed.

Scientists collected the data using the Apple Watch Series 3 and a specially-made VascTrac app, but the third-party software likely won't be necessary in the future. WatchOS 7 includes the six-minute walk test and other mobility data, and you can review your performance in the Health app on your iPhone (in the Browse tab under Respiratory).

The findings hint that the Apple Watch and other smartwatches could save patients the trouble of visiting the doctor to measure their functional capacity — they could simply walk around their homes and come in if there are signs of trouble. This clearly helps Apple continue pitching its wristwear as a health device, but it also hints at a future where the tech you already own is enough to provide doctors with an abundance of useful info.