Law enforcement, doctors explain life-saving qualities of smart watches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Law enforcement and medical professionals say the smart watch you wear every day could save your life.

This past Saturday afternoon, the search for a missing Fort Campbell soldier was reaching 24 hours on Kentucky Lake.

From boats to sonar, crews tried it all with no luck. Then they tried something different: tracking the missing man using the GPS feature of his Fit Bit.

“If somebody were out missing on land or water and we don’t know where they are, any law enforcement agency is going to look at any technology they can in order to locate someone,” said Barry Cross, with the TWRA.

Whether it’s an Apple watch or the Fit Bit, smart watches are the latest convenience gadget.

“I use mine mostly for heart rate, and then this one tracks your sleep,” said Lendon Bryan, of Nashville.

“It’s just kind of a little reminder all day, you need to step it up, you need to walk around,” said Madison Brockway, of Nashville.

Dr. Gregory Michaud is a cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He says smart watches are a God-send in his world.

“It’s constantly taking your heartbeat and when it detects a pattern that’s abnormal, then it gives you a warning saying you might be in an abnormal rhythm,” Dr. Michaud said.

Because the wrist band keeps a constant record of a patient’s pulse and can detect atrial fibrillation, it can also signal life-threatening emergencies like a stroke.

“A lot of patients don’t feel their a-fib, so they would have no idea they’re having it,” Dr. Michaud said.

Michaud takes his own EKG’s using the app Kardia, exciting technology he says is just the start of what he believes will become common practice for at-risk patients.

“No one questions a phone and a watch, so it’s much more inconspicuous and patients don’t mind it because they’re doing it anyway,” Michaud said. “They’re carrying a phone, they’re wearing a watch.”