Apple has shaken many industries in the course of several years from mobile phone to gaming to music. More recently, the company is going into the health and fitness industry and it might just be what the doctors have ordered.
Apple is set to unveil a series of new products on Tuesday and one that’s creating a lot of buzz is a smartwatch that is embedded with multiple sensors to monitor health and fitness information, according to people who are familiar with the matter.
Apple has worked with several healthcare institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente. With Apple’s smartwatch, people will have the device they need to make it more possible to monitor their health and fitness signs.
While the company still declines to comment, they have already made their intentions felt by hiring big names and its HealthKit, a data respiratory used for storing information gathered by different devices. It can then channel the information, with the user’s permission, to doctors and app developers. HeakthKit is created by Apple for iOS apps.
Apple’s latest mobile operation system, iOS 8, which will be out this month, will make HealthKit available for apps. A new app called Health is also included in the iOS 8. Health works as a dashboard for health and fitness information such as calories burned, heart rate, cholesterol and blood sugar, including lab results and medications.
While digital health has been around for some time now, the interest is mainly focused on athletic people who are more motivated to keep daily track of their fitness information and activities through devices.
Big companies have made efforts to introduce digital health but we’re yet to witness a success. Google launched Google Health in 2008, a portal wherein consumers upload health information and share them with insurers. Three years later, the company shut the service down. Microsoft has Health Vault – the company’s own effort to store and share medical data. However, it also has not gained much attention.
Apple has perfect timing as their advantage. When Google launched the portal, smartphones were not as common as they are today. Users are also more encouraged to monitor their health since they are shouldering most of the burden of health-related costs. In addition, more and more companies are actually offering money for consumers to take part in this healthy behavior or track their health and fitness information.
Hospitals and insurers are looking forward to Apple’s smarthwatch and HealthKit. Doctors can monitor their patients for signs of complications after a procedure.
However, Apple will have to convince its users that the health information they will store is safe, after hackers leaked nude photos of Hollywood celebrities that were stored in their iCloud service.
Even before the unfortunate event of hacking takes place, Apple was already improving its privacy protection. The company said that app developers are not allowed to store health information in iCloud and that companies that share data with HealthKit are also not allowed to use the data for advertising.