Some would say Apple is moving Watch in that direction thanks to an excellent heart rate monitor and the new electrocardiogram feature Watch Series 4. What almost everyone is missing about Watch is just how dangerous it is to your health.
Humans have this interesting tendency to look at common sense as if it is an unworthy trait. As an example, look at Robbie Gonzalez consideration of just how bad an Apple Watch with a built-in electrocardiogram can be to customers.
The New ECG Apple Watch Could Do More Harm Than Good
Uh huh. He said that. Or, rather said it to his Wired editor who said, “Great link bait, Robbie. Go with it!” I don’t mind a little contrarianism because nothing improves without change and some contrarian notions help advance the race forward (assumes facts not in evidence).
The bigger question is whether it’s a good idea in the first place.
I see some reductio ad absurdum coming. Wait for it.
Healthcare providers usually use ECGs in hospitals to measure the heart’s electrical activity and detect abnormalities in its rhythm. But with the latest iteration of its smartwatch, Apple wants to put an ECG on your wrist that you can use “anytime, anywhere.”
Ah, now we can begin.
See, there’s a problem with you having access to a function that only health care professionals should use. You know, like the heart rate monitor in Watch. Look at all the damage Wikipedia has caused teachers all over the world.
People with atrial fibrillation, which the CDC estimates affects between 2.7 and 6.1 million Americans, could likely benefit from a wearable, on-demand ECG device like the new Apple Watch.
And this is bad how? Obviously, if you are in the low risk category for cardiovascular disease events then you don’t need Apple Watch Series 4 with the built-in electrocardiogram.
So says the national experts who make up the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The USPSTF recommends against screening for cardiovascular disease with resting or exercise ECG in adults at low risk of cardiovascular disease events
That settles it. I’m at low risk for dying from a fever, so there’s no need to use a thermometer.
Dr. Theodore Abraham:
In the case of people who are very type-A, obsessed with their health, and fitness compulsive, you could see a lot of them overusing Apple’s tech to self-diagnose and have themselves checked out unnecessarily.
Could. Yes. Could.
Having a watch on my wrist could also give me a false sense of how much time I have to complete various tasks before the next deadline. Also, let’s stop using mass transportation because accidents happen and more people could be killed in a single event than if we all had our own single seat vehicles.
A telephone or cell phone gives us the ability to talk to almost anyone else on planet earth, but we should stop such activity because we might initiate a wrong number to someone we don’t know and that would be, well, awkward.
Yes, that’s how reducto ad absurdum works. Common sense also works.
If there’s a silver lining to putting electrocardiograms on every Apple Watch wearer’s wrist, it’s that their data (if they choose to share it—Apple emphasized at the event that your data is yours to do with as you please) could help researchers resolve the uncertainty surrounding ECG screening in seemingly healthy people.
If you worry about turning into a hypochondria Type-A personality overly obsessed with your heart’s health, then don’t use the electrocardiogram feature in Watch Series 4. Watch still tells time.
Is Watch with an electrocardiogram dangerous to your health? Like any tool, it could be if it is not used appropriately. That’s why most of us keep our sharp kitchen knives in a drawer instead of in our underwear.