Bad medicine: The Apple Watch problem


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First Apple ruined computers by making them for everyone. Then it ruined humanity by making everyone addicted to smartphones. Now it’s ruining medicine by… well, you have to read this to believe it.

Writing at The Motley Fool, Danny Vena asks “Is the Apple Watch Causing a Run on Emergency Rooms?” (Tip o’ the antlers to Philip.)

Is insulin saving lives and creating an overpopulation problem? Are puppies making people too happy? Where does it all end?!

Vena introduces us to some of the Apple Watch 4’s features and then turns to the big problem.

The other health-related feature is the watch’s ability to detect a potentially life-threatening heart condition.

Wasn’t life simpler when people just dropped dead from time to time?

While this capability has the potential to save lives, it also has a downside.

The dark side of… [squints] …saving lives.

Vena notes that the Apple Watch is credited with helping several people identify potentially life-threatening heart conditions they didn’t know they had. However…

Some doctors have reported hearing from patients in the middle of the night who were concerned about results they didn’t understand. This raises the potential that misreading the app or misunderstanding the findings of the ECG function will result in unnecessary and potentially expensive trips to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency room for otherwise healthy users.

This seems like a relatively minor concern given the potential downside to ignoring these warnings is, you know, death.

Pretty soon someone will opine on how the inability of some Samsung phones to dial 911 on a Canadian network when their owners were concerned one of them was having a heart attack is a feature. Turns out the individual was not having a heart attack so it saved a lot of time and effort! Advantage: Samsung!

It could also induce higher levels of anxiety for those who receive a correct diagnosis, particularly in those cases when the prescribed treatment is merely to keep an eye on the condition.

The Macalope has heard that ignorance is bliss but he’s rarely heard that applied to cases of having a heart condition.

Don’t know things about your health! It’ll just scare and depress you!

Well, that’s a great New Year’s resolution from The Motley Fool: try to be more ignorant in 2019. That’ll really help things. It’ll certainly give your doctor more leisure time.

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