Taking note of daily fitness levels via trackers including an Apple Watch or a Fitbit could potentially help doctors diagnose serious conditions in patients, according to new research.
Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City said the data provided by such technology was comparable with the six-minute walking test (6WMD) used by physicians – and often preferable because it meant patients didn’t have to complete the test in a medical setting.
The frequent updates were found to be as reliable as more traditional techniques used by GPs to track basic health levels including the 6WMD, which has been a common way for medical professionals to help diagnose lung and cardiovascular conditions.
The study found that doctors could accurately monitor a patient’s health, including keeping track of those already diagnosed with a disease, and such devises could help physicians decide whether urgent medical intervention was required.
Lead study author, and pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Healthcare, Denitza Blagev, said: “For patients, this means we can track their progress more frequently in a manner that’s less expensive and more convenient than current standardized testing.”
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Presenting at the European Respiratory Society International Congress meetings in Madrid, Spain, Blagev continued: “Normally, the 6WMD test is done every few months or once a year.
“Now, we may be able to measure patients on a regular basis and know if we need to intervene if their estimated 6WMD by step count changes.”