With everyone’s eye set on the launch of the seventh iteration of the iPhone, what excites me more is Apple in Healthcare. The consistent strides that Apple is making in healthcare is noteworthy. In 2014 Apple launched HealthKit and in early 2015 it launched ResearchKit and later in 2016 it launched CareKit. Very recently it purchased patient information data gathering and medical data management startup Gliimpse.
Why would a smartphone selling company be interested in healthcare at all, one might ask. The smartphone’s universality is unquestionable and interestingly all across the US, 62% of doctors prefer using Apple products when it comes to daily care routine. This is an important trend and a great opportunity for Apple to make a case for its devices in the exponentially growing digital health segment. It is also very important to note that Apple has accurate data from its consumers about their lifestyle. These give Apple a natural and unmatched upper hand in healthcare .
Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that the future of healthcare is “simplifying healthcare, making sure your patients feels like customers and having systems and applications that will bring out best in medical professionals”. This highly achievable goal is slowly taking full picture and below is how.
Ok! It is obvious. The iPhone has very useful sensors, camera etc. This, if used correctly, can bring in a large amount of healthcare related data .The sensors and device can be used for building engaging apps .There are many apps that utilize its features innovatively. For example check this iOS app that we built for Engine1 patients with Type1 diabetes. Apple iPhone’s cousin, the iPad remains one of the most preferred devices by doctors.
The recent entrant in the wearable market is another major bet by Apple in Healthcare. The smartwatch acts as a great tool to collect and manage healthcare related data. The device has the ability to gather information like step count, monitor heart rate etc.
The next versions of Apple Watch is expected to further its technology to capture and monitor healthcare related information.
The first step towards making a sense of data collected. A centralized dashboard to organize and track the user’s health data, Health is a convenient way for users to access all of their health metrics ranging from steps taken to calories burned.
HealthKit acts as a portal for sharing the data collected by the device to other apps. The user has the complete control of data sharing. You can learn more about the HealthKit in detail here. There are many apps available out in app store which use HealthKit extensively for data gathering.
ResearchKit is an open source framework that can be used to build medical and clinical research. The highly successful framework has produced more than 20 innovative research apps. The top university researchers have extensively used the ResearchKit apps for medical research. Recently GSK used ResearchKit framework for building a clinical study app making it the first pharmaceutical company to use the framework.
The success of ResearchKit can also be seen in the fact that there are Android and Hybrid iterations of the framework namely ResearchStack and Ionic ResearchKit Platform. You can explore this page to learn more about ResearchKit.
CareKit is an all new set of tools by Apple for building healthcare apps. CareKit contains mainly four features – care cards to track medication, a symptom tracking tool, dashboard to display health metrics and function to share the data with others.
CareKit can also be integrated with ResearchKit .Multiple ResearchKit apps already use CareKit in their research study.
Gliimpse (Recently Purchased startup)
Gliimpse is a recent acquisition by Apple which allows the users to own their medical information in a single virtual space. The data can be shared with anyone the patient wishes making the entire process of medical information data management a simple process.
Apple just acquired gliimspe and it is not available as a service as of now.
Partnership with IBM Watson
Apple partnered with IBM Watson to use its big data analytics services in medical research. Apple plans to use IBM Health cloud and Watson Cognitive computing with its ResearchKit and HealthKit platform.The combination can be highly useful for carrying out medical and clinical research for complex research projects which requires analyzing higher volume of data.
One good thing about Apple is that whenever they do something they become transformative force and become the service benchmark standard in that sector. The early adoptions of Apple based health apps are telling the same story. Let good health be accessible to all.
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Learn how innovatively researchers can use the smartphone for their research.Watch the demo app to know more!