How One App Could Change Pregancies Forever

by Elizabeth King

More than just the new iPhones were revealed during Wednesday's live Apple Event in San Francisco. Changes and upgrades to the Apple TV and the Apple Watch were also unveiled. One of the apps that is newly available to the Apple Watch is AirStrip ONE with Sense4Baby technology, which can differentiate between a pregnant person's heartbeat and the baby's heartbeat, information that can be very valuable for healthcare providers who also utilize the technology. If AirStrip ONE were to become the norm in hospitals, doctors would easily be able to monitor their pregnant patients, and receive live, vital information not only about heart rates, but also contractions.

AirStrip acquired the private company, Sense4Baby Inc. in 2014, and is now bringing the combined mobile technologies to patients and doctors in a whole new way.

According to AirStrip's website, Sense4Baby is meant to innovate and improve the way doctors treat high-risk pregnancies by providing real-time, remote information directly from the patient's body to healthcare providers. AirStrip states that Sense4Baby "can reduce risk by accelerating decision-making and intervention" for complicated pregnancies. AirStrip has a separate Sense4Baby unit that is roughly the size and shape of a computer mouse available for use, and with Apple Watch application, vital signs for mother and baby can be recorded on a device that many already wear on their wrist. Expectant patients will also be able to hear their baby's heartbeat on the watch, a special feature that many parents will appreciate.

Using a non-stress test, the app is able to interact with sensors that are placed on a pregnant person's stomach, where the app is able to record the baby's heart rate with very high levels of accuracy. Healthcare providers and healthcare institutions who also possess AirStrip are able to receive and monitor the information that is collected using the app on the Apple Watch. Doctors will also have the capability to send messages directly to the patient on their Apple Watch.

In order for doctors to receive information collected on Apple Watch via AirStrip, their healthcare facility must have equipment that is able to work with AirStrip technology. According to the AirStrip website, healthcare facilities must purchase "the [AirStrip] interface, server, and individual subscriptions for their physicians in order to operate the system using existing hospital IT infrastructure." The use of this patient monitoring technology makes it significantly easier for doctors to be proactive during risky pregnancies, instead of being limited to reacting once a serious problem becomes apparent.

The widespread application of this technology has obvious benefits for pregnant patients and doctors. Patients will not necessarily have to make in-person visits each time vitals are needed by their doctor, and doctors are able to receive information about patients immediately even while they are away from the hospital.

Image: Apple