Apple to add new biometrics to its smartwatch, reports suggest

Apple is planning to add new health-related features to its smartwatch, such as a blood pressure monitor and a thermometer, according to reports, in today’s bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Florida, and Ohio.

  • California: Apple plans to add new biometric features to its smartwatch—including a blood pressure monitoring tool and a thermometer to help with fertility planning—people familiar with the development told the Wall Street Journal. According to the Journal, while the company is expected to the release the seventh version of the Apple Watch in the next few weeks, the new health-related features are not expected to be released before 2022. In addition to these reported features, the company is looking into using its smartwatch to detect sleep apnea, provide medical guidance when blood oxygen levels drop, and perhaps even to identify diabetes. However, people familiar with the company’s plan cautioned that some features—particularly those that are currently being studied—may have their releases delayed or not be implemented at all. (Winkler, Wall Street Journal, 9/1)
  • Florida: Florida businesses, schools, and government agencies that require proof of vaccination will be fined $5,000 starting Sept. 16, Modern Healthcare reports. The fines are part of a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this year banning vaccine passports in the state. Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner and the only Democrat elected statewide, was critical of the fines, saying, “Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from Covid-19.” She added, “This not only goes against common sense—it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion.” (AP/Modern Healthcare, 9/1)
  • Ohio: Cleveland Clinic last week announced Jim Cotelingam as its new chief strategy officer. According to the Cleveland Business Journal, Cotelingam has served as interim chief strategy officer since February and initially joined the organization as its executive director of strategy in 2019. Previously, Cotelingam served as SVP of strategy at Trinity Health, where he developed its first system strategic plan and helped implement geriatric EDs. (Vanac, Cleveland Business Journal, 8/31)

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