Apple also sees the future of health in your mobile

Image | 9To5Mac

The 2014 edition of the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, celebrated in San Francisco each year, has unveiled many surprises. Finally, we’ve found out what iOS 8 – the next operating system for smartphones and tablets (available in autumn 2014) – will be like. And it seems this edition of the platform is not just a simple update, but much more. Apple’s new software incorporates several completely unprecedented benefits. One of the most important will also be the conversation topic for this post: HealthKit.

This new iOS 8 associated component represents the Cupertinian company’s launch into the world of mobile health and medicine. No more, no less. Up until now, other manufacturers had put forwards a few similar initiatives, which we’ve already discussed in more detail here. The magnitude of Apple, however, and their «hold» on the technology market mean that this announcement is more relevant than it might seem at first sight. In fact, Apple have confirmed that when iOS 8 is available in a few months’ time, those who update their smartphone or tablet’s operating system will find a ready-installed version of Health, an app connected to HealthKit, which is intrinsically linked to iOS 8.

The automatic installation of this app removes an important barrier: the difficulty which some people, above all those from older generations, experience when installing new apps. If you also bear in mind that currently, according to Strategy Analytics, Apple owns a 15,3% share of the global mobile market, there’s no doubt that the impact of their entrance to the world of mobile health and medicine will be ground-breaking.

The Health app will act as a central repository of iOS 8, allowing users to access the information generated by third-party health monitoring and assessment apps. But HealthKit isn’t just an app. It’s also a programming platform, designed to let developers administrate and organise all the information collected from their health and fitness apps in Health. This means that iOS 8 users will be able to access all this data via a single simple interface.

HealthKit’s reach

Video | 9To5Mac

Apple hasn’t been the first of the large manufacturers to show an interest in health and physical activity monitoring apps. Fitbit and Samsung, for example, already got there a while ago. What’s for sure, however, is that the Cupertinians have been working on this for a long time. In fact, during the WWDC they confirmed that they’d been working “shoulder to shoulder” with the prestigious American Mayo health clinic for five years in order to develop the HealthKit platform. And they’re currently collaborating with Epic Systems, a software company specialised in the development of the health apps used in many hospitals, in order to integrate the solutions that both companies provide.

Epic Systems’ software is currently being used in prestigious medical centres such as Stanford Hospital, the Johns Hopkins institutions and the Cleveland clinic, among others. When Apple manages to integrate HealthKit with Epic’s solutions, the patients of these medical centres will be able to use any iPhone with iOS 8 to access their medical notes, make enquiries and carry out many other health-related tasks. We still don’t know the full details of the characteristics the Health app will offer when iOS 8 finally hits the market. Given what Apple has already revealed, however, we do know that it will aggregate lots of useful information for users such as sleeping habits, frequency of inhaler use, information about the physical exercise they take, medical diagnosis, results of medical tests, information about the medication they’re taking, nutrition information, etc. At first sight, it seems to be a very ambitious platform which, given Apple’s capacity to disrupt the market, could mark a “before” and “after” in the way we watch over our health.

The mHealth competence centre forms part of Mobile World Capital Barcelona’s Programme of International Competence Centers (PCCI). mHealth works with a three-fold objective: to identify mobile technology opportunities in the provision of health services, to transform current healthcare models and processes, and promote the interoperability of health services in the field of mobile technologies and connectivity, building foundations that make it possible to integrate mobile health solutions.

Mobile World Capital presents a global vision that effectively integrates mobile technologies into the fabric of the industries transforming our lives. Committed to expanding the mobile experience throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain with strong support of the public and private sector.

Mobile World Capital is leading mobile transformation through commitments in Competence Centres, local Industry Development, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programmes.

MWCapital offers an open platform and exhibition showroom where citizens can understand and experience how mobile is enhancing our lives: The Mobile World Centre, located in the heart of Barcelona on Plaza Catalunya.

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