Reuters noted today that Apple is working with healthcare professionals at hospitals across the country, including Mount Sinai and John Hopkins, in preparation for the rollout of the HealthKit system in iOS 8. The goal is to ensure that medical personnel are ready to read data from the system when it ships later this year.
This move is hardly surprising, as Apple intends HealthKit to serve as a collection place for all of a user’s health-related data, which can be valuable—even lifesaving—during a medical emergency. In fact, the Mayo Clinic demoed the first HealthKit-enabled application earlier this year during WWDC:
[tweet https://twitter.com/mayoclinic/status/473569681539096576 align=’center’]
The HealthKit system, which 9to5Mac first exclusively reported on earlier this year, is expected to become publicly available later this year. The software will reportedly work with Apple’s upcoming iWatch to provide extensive health and fitness tracking capabilities. Apple has recently hired an army of health, fitness, and fashion experts to work on the project.
The iWatch will be revealed in October, and will work with software running on the next-generation version of iOS. That software will launch alongside updated iPhone hardware this fall. The software has been available in beta form to developers for several months now and has received several upgrades and features during that time.
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Reblogged this on Taste of Apple Tech and commented:
They seem really focused on this. I think that if they continue to be very strategic about rolling this out, there will be a lot of support for Health Kit and the Health app. It definitely has a great deal of potential for making healthcare better and improving the lives of countless people.
Not so fast.
While tracking distance walked and caloric intake (as I do on my Galaxy S5) are useful, putting vital medical information on a smartphone has some huge risks.
First of all, there is the risk of a data breach. We know smartphones are easy sources of information (partly due to the user’s own follies).
Second, if there is an emergency, what Healthcare provider is going to hack into your phone (or even turn it on) to look for information? No, they will rely on electronic information from another health care provider.
Having info on a smartphone could be helpful for people to remember things to ask their doctor, such as the way my dad carried a notepad. But no medical professional gets vital info from the patient.
As for tracking health indicators (blood sugar levels, bp) the devices themselves say not to rely on them and consult your physician.
They will do a great job of helping consumers who have trouble remembering appointments.
This info is based on discussions with health care providers that I have worked with.
As a health care provider I don’t think I’d accept a patient’s medical information as valid if such a patient visited me. Not only are there ethical reasons not rely on it, but legal ones. Imagine if you were in a court room and asked if you re-verified the information provided you by the plaintiff’s iWatch. Was that iWatch calibrated? Where is the certificate of calibration? All it is is an interesting data point and nothing else.
I don’t think you would rely on it as a final conclusive test, but it would better than relying on no data. If iWatch says someone is running high blood pressure, then as a doctor you would focus on that area with your own tests. Also the iWatch is going to be way better than human recollection. Someone says they go for walks all the time but their device says they have 5000 steps in a week, you know they aren’t being active most likely and can encourage them to get more exercise. Just as medical tests are not infallible, they provide a data point to work with.
JOHNS Hopkins!! Get it right!
As someone soon going to work in the healthcare field, I find this post interesting. Can’t wait to see where Apple goes with this.
As a former health care provider, now retired, I find this article and the pending release of this hardware & software to be very exciting. As a consumer, I currently use several means of storing my current health status, medications, etc. on my iPhone & iPad, along with doctor’s info. It’s very useful to me when I’m at an appointment, as there is simply too much information to remember these days, for me. Some of the info, I print out before going, such as my current medication list. All of which I review with my providers. My partner is on a wait list for a heart transplant and has several medical devices implanted, which information is all on my mobile devices and his. We keep certain emergency documents in the glovebox and on person, but for most situations, having medical information at hand for various multiple appointments is a god-send. Most hospitals, clinics, and doctors are now going to a patient portal of some kind so that various medical records can be accessed by consumers, and include ways of communicating by text or e-mail that seems, at least to us, to be a much better and quicker way of getting questions answered, appointments made or changed, and prescriptions updated. All of which used to require levels of playing phone tag, paging, or punching through various levels of phone-trees and endless wait times on the phone. As I see it, most medical information & data is already out there someplace in a file with insurance companies and credit companies. It’s about time consumers had electronic access at at least the same level, or better. So, I see Apples foray into this application software/hardware as a great tool for the consumer.