Johns Hopkins researchers have introduced EpiWatch, designed to use the Apple Watch to collect patient data through the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple. The app, which runs on the Apple Watch and iPhone, collects data from patients with epilepsy before, during and after their seizures.
“Physicians often ask patients to record their seizures. But that can be hard, especially when a patient loses consciousness. EpiWatch collects data that help researchers better understand epilepsy, while helping patients keep a more complete history of their seizures,” said Gregory Krauss, M.D., professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The app also provides helpful tracking of seizures, prescription medication use and drug side effects— activities that are important in helping patients manage their condition.”
Johns Hopkins’ EpiWatch modules enable research participants to complete an interactive, informed consent; track their seizures in real time, including prompts on the Apple Watch testing awareness; and answer research surveys and other tasks. Users can review their data and compare their symptoms to others in their demographic with similar seizures.
The back-end data solution is being provided by Acuma Health, a division of Smart Monitor, via a secure health informatics platform that protects patient information and provides custom analytics dashboards to researchers.
Krauss and Crone have been working with developers at THREAD Research to build EpiWatch. The app makes use of many of the Apple Watch sensors—such as the accelerometer, which detects movements, and the gyroscope, which determines orientation in space—to measure and record movements and falls during seizures. The app also uses Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor, since heart rate can rise significantly during seizures.