Apple’s HealthKit: Predictably Pushing The Envelope For Fitness and Health Data

HealthKit

What remains to be seen is how well this application interacts with electronic health records and present actionable data to health care professionals in a way that is efficient, does not promote legal risk, is secure, compliant with HIPAA, doesn’t illicit more false positives and increase systemic risk

Apple, today, announced a slew of new features for the iPhone and Mac lines of devices. Predictably, one of the new announcements for iOS 8 included  the new HealthKit app. The HealthKit app is meant to be a control center for all things fitness and health on iOS devices. It functions to integrate data from third party health apps currently scattered across devices, in their own ‘silos’. It will also be accompanied with neat diagnostics tools such as fitness trend monitoring and so forth.

The system goes both ways. “For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance,” Apple says. Notably, Apple also stated its intention to partner with health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic allowing an exchange of health information through the HealthKit.

The really exciting prospect for the HealthKit is it’s possible compatibility with the rumored iWatch that Apple is expected to release later this year. If Apple enters the wearable fitness tracking market, the repercussions could be huge for current industry leaders such as Jawbone, Nike, and Fitbit etc.  Another interesting angle is the HealthKit’s function to consolidate the data in a uniform format, perhaps even setting industry standards for the actual use of wearable technology data by medical professionals in an integrated and streamlined manner.

While Apple Fanboys and Fangirls predictably fawned over the announcements, we believe that while a  health control center is a great idea, it is only solving part of the problem, the easier part to solve. The good, for consumers/patients, is that with better data, aggregated, they will be smarter and more engaged with their health decisions. For developers, they will have the ability to build an ecosystem of more engaging applications atop a unified repository of data that will feed that engagement.  However, what remains to be seen is how well this application interacts with electronic health records and present actionable data to health care professionals in a way that is efficient, does not promote legal risk, is secure, compliant with HIPAA, doesn’t illicit more false positives and increase systemic risk.  Let’s not forget Apple’s attempts to centralize travel information with the ‘Passbook’ application. By many opinions, it failed to garner the scale of industry changing momentum that it had hoped for. This time around though, Apple has hopefully learned from its past mistakes.

 

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