Alphabet’s health division, Verily – a health watch it announced in 2017, has received FDA clearance for its ECG (electrocardiogram) technology to be used in a Study Watch. The Study Watch is not a consumer watch, but a product that is being designed to gather vitals for serious medical studies of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and PTSD.
The Watch, Verily says, can record and display “single-channel/ single-lead” ECG rhythms. Single leads are less accurate than a full test. However, it can be used as a screening tool and doctors may prescribe the device to individuals as part of their clinical care. Verily says that the EKG feature on the Study Watch is “intended to record, store, transfer, and display single-channel ECG rhythms, and is indicated for use by healthcare professionals, adult patients with known or suspected heart conditions, and health-conscious individuals.”
“The ability to take an on-demand, single-lead ECG, can support both population-based research and an individual’s clinical care,” Verily writes in its blog confirming the approval. “Receiving this clearance showcases our commitment to the high standards of the FDA for safety and effectiveness and will help us advance the application of Study Watch in various disease areas and future indications.”
Even though the clearance pertains specifically to the company’s prescription-only Study Watch, it’s not impossible to imagine Google borrowing the ECG technology for its Wear OS platform or a Pixel Watch.
Google recently announced an agreement to purchase Fossil’s wearable technology – which in its latest version was evidently health-focused. And hence, the ‘timely’ FDA clearance hints Google’s possible entry into the wearables market which is currently dominated by the iPhone giant. Apple recently added ECG feature on its Series 4 Watch models.