Other technology companies like Fitbit and Apple have shown an interest in sleep-tracking in recent years. Fitbit is hoping that its fitness trackers can provide a useful service in alerting people to potential sleep apnea. And Apple acquired a sleep-tracking hardware company called Beddit in 2017, indicating its interest in the space.
But the Alphabet joint venture appears to be more ambitious than that.
ResMed’s chief medical officer Carlos Nunez described a series of goals for the partnership, which involve reaching people who might have the condition but don’t know it; as well as helping those who have been diagnosed stay compliant with their treatment. They’re also looking at raising awareness among the traditional health system, so that doctors will know what questions to ask.
“We also want to help providers, patients, payers and health systems understand that treating and managing these patients will help drive down cost and improve efficiency of health delivery,” he said.
Both companies said they would deploy clinical studies to ensure they’re on the right track.
Another core component of the joint venture will be technology and data. Nunez described it as an “unknown” fact that ResMed has generated “billions of nights of data” about how people sleep via its devices for sleep apnea and other conditions. By working with Verily, which boasts many former Google engineers, the company hopes to find new insights.
Independent sleep specialists say that technology companies have a big opportunity to help people with sleep apnea.
“There has been a lot of buzz of late in developing apps and other programs or hardware to help diagnose the disease,” said Graff.