Fitness wearables were the rage at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this year. But behind the scenes it is Apple that is making a steady charge in the health space. Last year Apple introduced the Healthkit service in its latest version of iOS and quickly tied up with leading hospitals. Now it is reported that 14 of the top 23 hospitals in the US are in the process of rolling out pilot programs around the Healthkit.
HealthKit is a centralised repository for all health related metrics for an individual. The data can come in from the phones in-built sensors or external sensors or test kits for e.g. glucose measurement tools, Wi-fi connected scales. This provides a holistic health record of an individual in realtime and is something that the doctor can use to make specific recommendations. Chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension can be regularly monitored in patients and proactive measures can be taken to reduce the impact.
Apple reports that there are over 600 developers currently working on the Healthkit technology. Apple’s move into mobile health tech comes as the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare reform efforts aim to provide incentives for doctors to keep patients healthy. Apple has taken on-board industry advisers like Rana and John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, to discuss health data privacy and for introductions to the industry. Meanwhile Samsung is catching up with the trend set by Apple and is said to be in working with Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and University of California’s San Francisco Medical Center to develop its mobile health technology.
The US healthcare market is a $3 Trillion market and is likely to see significant induction of technology in the coming years, both from the perspective of improving the healthcare provided and managing the costs associated with them. Nearly 70% of the healthcare organizations worldwide are expected to take up new technologies like wearables, remote monitoring and virtual care. The biggest hurdle that healthcare providers and hospitals will face over time is managing highly detailed and granular data in large data sets. This will require important breakthroughs in large data management and analytic capabilities.
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