Amid the hoopla of the new iPhone 6 and 6+, the new HealthKit app is making its appearance.

In conjunction with the Mayo Clinic, Apple has devised an app that blends together healthcare information from various third-party apps along with the app from Mayo clinic.  This provides users with a comprehensive view of their health on a mobile device.

Mayo Clinic is committed to consumers taking a more active role in their healthcare and they back the use of apps that are both helpful and accurate providing more affordable healthcare.   The medical director for the public affairs and marketing operation at Mayo Cinic, Dr. John Wald states:

“If we lose that trusted aspect, we’ve lost everything. We are committed to maintaining that trust.”

The HealthKit (aka Health) supplies a holistic approach to both patients and healthcare providers in viewing data.

Collected information includes:

  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse
  • Glucose level
  • Diet and caloric intake
  • Temperature
  • Exercise
  • Photos or videos of restricted motion
  • Images of rashes
  • And more

This information is congregated from the consumer with various Apple apps, and medical sites.  Besides apps devised by Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai and Cleveland Clinic, there will be inclusion from sportswear marketing companies such as Adidas, Nike and The Running Company.

The benefits are clear.  Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi illustrates an example of a benefit with blood pressure readings:

“When a patient takes, let’s say, a blood pressure reading, HealthKit automatically notifies their app. And their app is automatically able to check whether that reading is within generic ventolin hfa inhaler that patient’s personalized healthcare parameters and thresholds.  If it’s not, it can contact the hospital proactively, notify a doctor and that doctor can reach back to that patient providing more timely care.”

Security Issues

Apple executives insist that privacy and security is a big concern that has been addressed.  Federighi, points out:

“We carefully protect (patient) privacy so (the patient) can have total control over which applications have access to which part of (their) healthcare information.”

The thing is, consumers must approve data-sharing from all apps used to obtain a comprehensive medical picture and there is no way to determine if the other apps are as stringent with security controls.  This calls protection of patient information into question.

Wald says that Apple is “aware of those concerns” but feels that :

“It will follow all of the HIPAA regulations, but I like that healthcare will be driving some of these decisions. I think this can lead to some better solutions.”  “We think that having a central repository is a very positive move to helping with affordable healthcare,” he said. “And we have great IT folk who are ultimately concerned about keeping us as the most trusted brand in healthcare.”

Wald argues that patients are currently accessing digital copies of sensitive medical data like lab tests.  Apple will seek to protect this.

Are you currently using health apps?  Do you plan on using an aggregate site like Apple’s HealthKit?  Share your views in the comment box below.