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Greg is a partner at Menlo Ventures and focuses on life science and digital health technology investments.
Today’s wearables are still designed for the healthy and wealthy, not those who could benefit the most. Medical wearables offer the potential to collect health data and improve health via a combination of real-time AI and expert human intervention. Apple’s announcement of FDA clearance of its Watch for screening for irregular heart rhythms was meant to be groundbreaking. But its medical value right now remains limited and controversial. What will make the promise into reality?
Application - Wearables - Blood - Pressure - Monitoring
I believe the application that will make wearables medically matter is automated blood pressure monitoring. Blood pressure may not be sexy, but it’s a universally understood measurement and a clinically central one. Your doctor measures your blood pressure every single time you visit. Even those who don’t pay close attention to their health know that high blood pressure increases risk of heart attack and stroke, and lower blood pressure saves lives.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects between 30-50% of adult Americans, or 75-120 million people. It’s the No. 1 risk factor in deaths worldwide, and the No. 1 modifiable risk in heart disease and stroke, the top two worldwide causes of death. Despite this, only half of people with high blood pressure are lowering it enough, even with medications. Why? A big reason is lack of information.
Doctors - Everyone - Risk - Blood - Pressure
Doctors advise everyone at risk to monitor their blood pressure, but few do it often enough, in large part because inflatable blood pressure cuffs, while universal, are uncomfortable and inconvenient. In fact, current medical guidelines recommend automated blood pressure monitoring to more accurately measure your blood pressure, but hardly anyone is willing to use a motorized cuff that squeezes your arm every 30 minutes while you try to sleep! Cuffless automated monitoring would provide...
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