More than 400,000 people participated in the Apple Heart Study, which used Apple Watch to collect irregular heartbeat data from participants for eight months. When an irregular rhythm was detected and suggested the possibility of arterial fibrillation, Watch had to send a notification to the user. The study participants who received the notification were contacted by telephone by a physician and received an electrocardiogram patch for monitoring purposes.

This weekend, Stanford Medicine reported on the results of the study conducted at the annual scientific session and exhibition of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. The study showed that 0.5% of participants had received irregular-rate notifications, raising fears in some places that the Apple Watch sensor would overload health professionals with false positives. In a press release, Jeff Williams, director of operations at Apple, said:

We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine in conducting this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope that consumers will continue to get useful and actionable information about the health of their hearts through Apple Watch.

We're still in the early stages of potential health benefits of wearable devices such as the Apple Watch, and it's encouraging to see results like these, which show the potential benefits that we can get by providing people with information that will help them to need.