How Apple's Health App and HealthKit Affects Physicians

June 10, 2014
Iltifat Hussain, MD

Apple's recently announced HealthKit cloud platform and accompanying Health app have the potential to change public health and force physicians to adopt mobile healthcare technology faster.

This article published with permission from iMedicalApps.com.

Several months ago I wrote about how Apple’s upcoming health app had the potential to change public health and could force physicians to adopt mobile. (We all knew the health app was coming, but the pundits were referred to as “Healthbook.” Apple decided to go with “Healthkit.”)

This week at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple affirmed the rumors when announcing iOS 8, stating the new operating system would have a “Health” app, and a cloud platform called “HealthKit.”

“Healthkit” is the developer platform and will be able to collect/aggregate information from a variety of approved third-party devices and apps. This information will then be fed into the user’s Health app. The Health app is what patient’s will see, and promises to keep a constant track of key health metrics.

When Apple made the announcement at WWDC, it gave an example of a third-party blood pressure tracking device connecting to a patient’s Health app via the Healthkit platform used to store their blood pressure reading. If your blood pressure reading is high, Apple stated “your physician would be notified.” Apple went on to say it is working closely with the Mayo Clinic to make this type of interaction a reality.

In the article I wrote months ago, I ended with the following conclusion:

In one fell swoop, Apple has the ability to add a comprehensive uniform health tracking app to tens of millions of iOS devices. This could give us the opportunity to change patient behavior in a way never thought imaginable before.

I wrote how physicians would be forced to understand how mobile apps can be used to improve health because for the first time there would be a uniform mobile platform for tracking health metrics in a meticulous way.

So what does this mean for physicians? There are 2 main takeaways:

1) Patients will be sharing more information with you

My fellow physicians need to understand that more patients are going to be showing their smartphones and the health metrics they are tracking, and physicians are going to need to understand how to utilize this data to improve patient health.

Read the rest of the article at iMedicalApps.