Dr. Iltifat Husain’s physician take is at the end of this article
The Apple Watch could soon be used as a tool for glucose monitoring that could change the lives of millions who are managing diabetes, according to CNBC. The news organization reported that Apple engineers have been developing a way to read glucose levels continuously without puncturing the skin by using lights and sensors on the Apple Watch.
Last year, Apple hired Dr. Rajiv Kumar, a leading pediatric endocrinologist from Stanford, which caused a lot of excitement in the medical community, including iMedicalApps.com, and maybe offered a clue to the company’s long game.
Whether or not Dr. Kumar’s hire was a hint, for the past five years, 30 researchers have allegedly been secretly exploring the noninvasive technology in a “remote location.” While that intriguing detail might seem to be out of a biotech spy story, it has every reason to be. If true, this would be a groundbreaking next step for mobile health and telemedicine.
There are already diabetes management apps on the market, including “smart” socks and continuous glucose monitoring apps. A nonintrusive continuously monitoring device seems to be the holy grail in Silicon Valley. Google has prototyped a contact lens, and Dexcom is working with Verily to create smaller glucose-monitoring devices.
Dr. Iltifat Husain’s take
While having the Apple Watch monitor glucose levels would be fascinating, we need to be realistic as well. There are massive regulatory and also clinical situations that would need to be taken into consideration before the Apple Watch could try to read glucose levels in a noninvasive manner. A project like this would require clinical trials to test efficacy, along with a slew of discussions and testing by the FDA. Frankly, this isn’t realistic for a company like Apple. Apple in the past has done everything possible to make sure they don’t fall under FDA scrutiny — so I don’t think this is something they would come to market with first. I compare this to Apple trying to create a self driving car — it sounds cool, and they might create a “concept car” in 5 years or so, but we all know they aren’t going to be selling cars anytime soon.