University of Michigan, Apple Launch Collaborative Research Study on Apple Watch, Health Data

The University of Michigan (UM) and Apple, Inc. have partnered on a research study to determine whether data collected from an Apple Watch in addition to other health information, can give additional information about an individual’s health, wellness and possible disease to doctors and nurses.

“This study is a unique opportunity to work with patients to gain insight into their daily and overall health status, providing a wealth of data that can be used for research that benefits everyone and advances health care,” said Dr. Marschall Runge, university executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UM Medical School.

The three-year observational study already has 1,000 people enrolled through UM’s health system. Titled MIPACT (Michigan Predictive Activity and Clinical Trajectories), the project began in a pilot study last September.

Each new participant to the study is being offered a Series 4 Apple Watch, said Dr. Sachin Kheterpal, study lead and associate professor of anesthesiology at Michigan Medicine.

“Participants wear the watch, obtain home blood pressure readings and perform a guided breathing task two times a day,” Kheterpal added.

Over 40 UM researchers and staff are working on the project in clinical trials, software development, project management, recruiting and enrollment, Kheterpal said. The number of Apple staff assisting with the project is not publicly known.

Researchers plan to add thousands of more patients from the university’s academic medical center, Michigan Medicine, over the next year, Kheterpal said.

Every research participant begins by donating a blood sample for routine laboratory testing. They then receive survey questions through an app on their iPhone on a range of health topics during the study, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

“The goal of the study is to understand the relationship between biosensors, health information and health outcomes. By asking participants to wear an Apple Watch and use a blood pressure monitor, we will be able to better understand their daily health and level of activity,” Kheterpal said.

Data collected from the study will also help doctors and patients learn how to interpret and understand the daily data.

“While we are not driving changes in management of these diseases in the current study, the data we collect and the participant community we develop will be the foundation for future studies designed to change disease management and wellness maintenance,” Kheterpal said.

“With the breadth of scientific expertise at the University of Michigan, we are uniquely positioned to explore how to integrate knowledge gained across participant surveys, medical records, wearables, genomics, and lab tests to better understand daily experiences and long-term health, while ensuring safe use of this information.”

Premium Employers