As anticipation among Apple enthusiasts, tech bloggers, and curious consumers alike builds around this fall’s unveiling of the iPhone 6 and the new iOS 8 version of Apple’s mobile operating system, Apple is also readying a new platform — its HealthKit framework — for launch. HealthKit will aggregate data from third-party apps and devices, and aim to serve as a central hub not only for the user through a corresponding Health app, but also for medical professionals who could use the data to diagnose and treat their patients. The platform’s rollout will mark Apple’s launch into a growing new area: the intersection of health and mobile technology.
Reuters reports that Apple is talking with healthcare providers at Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Allscripts, a competitor to electronic health records provider Epic Systems. While the discussions may or may not result in formal partnerships, they make clear the fact that Apple is looking to make HealthKit a viable tool for healthcare providers as well as consumers.
Health data like blood pressure, pulse, and weight are currently collected by a wide array of third-party mobile apps and devices, but the data lacks a solution for central storage. Though Apple hasn’t yet revealed many details about HealthKit, it’s clear that this is where HealthKit comes in. Apple hopes that patients will send the data from all of their health-related apps and devices to HealthKit where physicians will be able to access it and use it to make more accurate diagnoses and devise better treatments.
Apple has previously announced HeatlhKit-related partnerships with Nike, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic. Reuters reports that the Mayo Clinic is testing a service that would flag patients when the results from their apps and devices are abnormal, and notify physicians so that they can deliver follow-up information and treatment recommendations. Reuters also says that the dozens of healthcare systems that use Epic Systems’ software will be able to integrate HealthKit data into patients’ records in Epic. Kaiser Permanente is currently piloting mobile apps that leverage HealthKit, and is expected to discuss a formal partnership with Apple.