Latest Garmin Connect update wants permission to “write” blood pressure
The latest Garmin Connect update is asking users to give permission to “write” blood pressure readings to Apple Health. Now which device is going to measure blood pressure? What’s going on?
Garmin Connect may be a fitness and health powerhouse, with one notable exception. At the moment it doesn’t allow users to store blood pressure readings. Which is peculiar considering that this is one of the most important health metrics a person can track.
Open up the Garmin app today and (depending on your region) you may be greeted with the message below. The software is asking for permission to write Diastolic and Systolic blood pressure data to Apple Health.
This could mean one of several things
At the moment there is no means of adding blood pressure readings to Garmin Connect. Even if you take a manual reading with a traditional blood pressure monitor, you cannot add this type of information to Garmin’s platform. Which is a big omission as it means you can’t have all your health data in one place. Most other companies allow you to add blood pressure readings to your health information.
Manual entry of readings
This latest update could mean that Garmin is finally addressing this problem.
Perhaps the company is planning to update the software to allow users to manually enter blood pressure readings. It would make sense. They already have the structure, charts and fields for other metrics, so it would be a simple task of adopting this to log blood pressure.
We would imagine, it might work something akin to the hydration widget. A way of manually typing in the readings. Data entry would be fast and easy.
A smart blood pressure monitor built by Garmin
Of course, there’s always a chance that Garmin may have something more sophisticated in mind. Perhaps they are looking to start selling their own smart blood pressure monitor. Not in the form of a smartwatch, but as a traditional cuff-type monitor. Withings has one, as does iHealth and some other wearable brands.
Fitbit might also be working on such a device. The company has recently patented a cuff-type blood pressure monitor with some clever smarts. Registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in May 2022, the device has the ability to automatically identify the user, alert when ideal conditions for taking a reading are present and more.
It would make sense for Garmin to start selling its own connected blood pressure monitor. The company is not just about sports watches. For example, it sells a smart scale. A blood pressure monitor would be a natural extension to its ecosystem of products.
Capturing blood pressure readings from the wrist
We did not spot any Garmin patents for such a device but there is a patent that was filed last month with the USPTO for a watch that can track ECG and potentially blood pressure. It is not a secret that the company has been working on adding ECG to its watches for a while now. But that is the first mention of blood pressure that we spotted in a Garmin patent.
It would presumably use the same sensors as those utilised to capture ECG readings. One sensor would be located in the bezel or a push-button of the watch that the wearer would need to touch whilst taking a measurement. The second is an electrically-conductive plate which sits on the back of the device so is constantly in contact with the wearer’s skin.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
At the moment it is not clear whether Garmin is working on adding manual entry of blood pressure readings or if it is looking to manufacture a smart cuff-type blood pressure monitor of its own. The top of most people’s wish lists would be for blood pressure readings to be integrated in a smartwatch. But that is also the least likely possibility. At least for now.
The timing of this Garmin Connect update is interesting. Particularly as we are expecting the soonish launch of Venu Sq 2. That one and Venu are great candidates for this type of functionality as they are Garmin’s all-purpose watches. There’s always on outside chance the duo might gain some more mainstream health features.
[update 22/7/2022]: It seems that Garmin is working on a blood pressure cuff called Index BPM as evidenced in this code that appears in Garmin Connect.
“Your Garmin Index BPM measures and tracks systolic and diastolic blood pressure with the press of a button.” the text reads.
“When the cuff is wrapped around the upper arm and activated, it will inflate and apply firm pressure to the arm for a few seconds before deflating on its own. As the cuff gradually deflates, it will provide your systolic and diastolic measurements in a digital readout.
“After you take a blood pressure measurement and sync your device with Garmin Connect, a detailed reading will be displayed. You’ll also receive reports, so you can track your blood pressure trends over time.
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