This year, Apple made an announcement at their developer conference that has the potential to change the mHealth industry. The announcement came in two parts. First, Apple declared that iOS 8 would ship with an app called Health. This app will primarily serve as a dashboard to the user’s health and fitness data. While the app will allow users to manually enter and manage all of this data, the interface for doing so is awkward. Where the app really shines is in how it lets users visualize their data using charts and graphs.
In addition to Health, Apple announced HealthKit, a framework that developers can use to interact with the user’s health and fitness data. With this framework, apps can request the user’s permission to read and write to this centralized database. In practical terms, this means that an app paired with a bluetooth scale could automatically log your weight every day to your HealthKit database. Your FitBit wristband with its companion app could record how many calories you burn each day and how well you sleep each night. Similarly, a bluetooth glucometer could record your blood glucose levels and save those to HealthKit. And now, instead of all of your personal health data being scattered across numerous apps and websites, all of it can exist in a single location.
However, the power of HealthKit lies beyond the aggregation of health data. Where HealthKit really becomes exciting is that it also enables users to share this data with their doctor or healthcare provider. Apps like Patient IO can act as a bridge between a person and their care provider, automatically relaying health data as it is added to HealthKit. And to take it one step further, Patient IO could analyze this data and flag potential issues that a doctor should look at as soon as possible, possibly identifying life-threatening issues earlier than might have happened otherwise. And now we have painted a very powerful picture of how HealthKit might possibly change the health care industry. This truly creates a powerful and immediate opportunity for platforms like Patient IO.