Reuters tonight reported that it recently polled 23 of the nation’s top hospitals and found that 14 of them have already launched the first stages of programs built on Apple’s HealthKit software in place, or have plans to do so in the near future.
These programs will allow doctors to monitor patients with chronic medical conditions and alert them at the first sign of a problem, giving users the ability to take preventative action rather than reactive. These programs will likely be expanded to include data collected by the Apple Watch when it debuts later this year.
Apple has put together a team of experts to act as liaisons between the company and its hospital partners and help introduce the technology to more institutions:
Apple has recruited informal industry advisors, including Rana and John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, to discuss health data privacy and for introductions to the industry.
Halamka makes the case for Apple’s approach, saying that while it’s impossible for a hospital to build out the technology required to interact with every single piece of fitness hardware, the Cupertino company has provided a method that allows developers to add such functionality to their devices without hospitals needing to be involved.
Some hospitals are currently working on a way to allow doctors to quickly find key health data from customers’ devices at a glance, while other experts are calling for a standardized platform that allows Apple’s HealthKit data to sync up with similar products from Samsung, Google, and other competitors.