There is a huge growth potential in wearable tech and for insurers who specialise in assisted living, or healthcare plans, smarter data is the key to pricing the plan. As the UK population contains a high number of over 65s with assets and accrued wealth, there is an opportunity for monitored lifestyles to become the foundation stone of any Life/Health policy. The Vagus tech could also be useful for claims specialists who want to monitor the progress of policyholders who are receiving rehab or therapy following an accident.
UK health-tech company Vagus.co has developed a 30-second electrocardiogram test performed with a smartwatch app. The technology is a massive boost for preventive healthcare.
Checking the rhythm and activity of your heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a routine procedure that millions of people go through every year. You visit a healthcare centre, several sensors are attached to your body, and the electrical signals produced by your heartbeat are recorded for a doctor to study.
While doctors all over the world can do the procedure, it is time consuming for both patient and healthcare provider alike. This is why smartwatch makers have started to put ECG sensors into their products. Apple alone has sold more than 80 million ECG-capable Apple Watches.
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Use cases have typically been limited to pulse measurement and the detection of atrial fibrillation. Some manufacturers have also tried to detect breathing from these general ECG recording signals using a technique called derived breathing detection. But until now, scientists and doctors have not managed to find a way to reliably extract breathing measurements from these standard ECGs.
Cambridge-based startup Vagus.co decided to address this challenge. By using a technique that measures controlled breathing at fixed intervals, the company has developed a way of vastly expanding the insights achieved from a 30-second ECG test made on smartwatches such as those produced by Apple.
“The Vagus method utilizes 1000 times more data than traditional ECG devices, which only detect the heartbeat and ignore all other data,” says Vagus.co founder and CEO, Gustaf Kranck.
“In information terms, traditional ECG apps uses the equivalent of just 150 of the 15,000 data points collected during a standard 30-second Apple Watch ECG recording. Thanks to the statistical, machine-learning, entropy-based and AI-analytics methods we have developed, Vagus uses 100% of the available data points.”