Throughout my clinical clerkships, I have become increasingly aware of the incorporation of technology into patient care. During an outpatient internal medicine rotation, a patient came into the office for a routine annual visit. When I went in to see him and asked if he had any concerns, he mentioned that while he hadn’t experienced any symptoms, his Apple watch had notified him several times that he had been in atrial fibrillation, including presently in the office. He said the previous times included once at a baseball game, and another time just sitting in a chair not doing anything. Prior to this visit, I had not heard anything of the accuracy of Apple watches in detecting arrhythmias, so I was skeptical as to whether or not the patient was truly in atrial fibrillation. My physician mentor told me that in fact, there’d been several studies published indicating that the Apple watch was accurate over 90% of the time in detecting arrhythmias, and that we’d better get an EKG on him. Sure enough, the EKG showed no discernable P waves and an irregular rate. This was really eye-opening for me, because it made me think about the new age of health care, and how patients can become more in control of their health than ever simply by utilizing these technologies. My physician and I discussed the flip side to this seemingly brilliant concept, that asymptomatic arrhythmias and other issues may be detected that warrant invasive and expensive workup, which may have not needed to happen in the first place. In any case, the possibilities for integrating technology into healthcare undoubtedly exceeds this situation I witnessed, and certainly will usher in an era where people can become more aware of their health.
Alex is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As an avid lover of the intellect and interspecialty collaboration associated with medicine, she is excited to be applying for Internal Medicine residency programs. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.