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27th April 2023

Apple’s Quartz: The AI health coach of the future

Apple is in the process of developing health services powered by artificial intelligence, referred to as Quartz. The service will create personalised wellness plans using AI and user data and may provide users with advice on nutrition, fitness, or sleep.

Apple’s AI-powered Quartz: The future of Healthcare?

The new Health app from Apple is an example of an excellent tool for those looking to lose weight or start a new exercise routine. The app monitors blood glucose, heart rate, and respiratory rate to notify users if they reach problematic levels. Its dashboard displays the health metrics users want to focus on, such as the number of steps taken and hours of sleep.

Apple watch looking at health features
An example of the health app’s features is the ability to confirm target heart rate to track calorie burn during workouts.

Some workout routines require hitting specific heart rate levels to burn calories, and the Health app confirms whether users hit their target heart rate to ensure their fitness routine is working. It is also suitable for individuals with heart issues and other pre-existing conditions. For instance, the app can alert users if their blood pressure rises excessively and recommend avoiding strenuous activities or taking prescription medication.

Moreover, the Health app shows information about users’ medications and alerts them about inadvisable drug interactions. The app can also recommend relevant suggestions by opening the camera. The Health app integrates data from numerous third-party apps to promote healthier habits. The latest Apple Watch Series 8 is a women’s health assistant that facilitates family planning by estimating ovulation and tracking cycle deviations.

The watch also allows users to send emergency alerts if they have a serious health issue. The iPhone 14 has a similar feature that enables users to send alerts even in areas with no cell service. The Apple App Store offers several third-party health apps that users may download.

Beyond Apple: How AI is Revolutionizing Healthcare

Apple is not the only company or organisation that has been using technology in healthcare. For example, the British Journal of Ophthalmology has been experimenting with AI to identify heart disease in seconds through a project called QUARTZ, similar to Apple’s upcoming wellness app. The acronym stands for “QUantitative Analysis of Retinal vessels Topology and siZe,” and it checks heart health by scanning eyes and comparing them to a database.

The British QUARTZ can detect potential issues and identify a stroke risk if someone’s eye scan is similar to that of a stroke patient.

However, there have been reports of people using AI inappropriately for health, such as seeking mental health advice from ChatGPT. Although it may provide general tips for improving well-being or career transitioning, OpenAI did not create it for psychological therapy.

According to Sahra O’Doherty, director of the Australian Association of Psychologists, seeking mental health support from someone unfamiliar with the person’s physical location could be dangerous. Dr Adam S Miner, a clinical psychologist who studies conversational AI, suggested that we be realistic in our expectations, acknowledging that these are impressive machines but still imperfect software programs trained on data that may not be appropriate for all situations.

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