A couple of hospitals in the United States are set to hold medical trials with patients of diabetes and chronic diseases using Apple's HealthKit.
HealthKit is a healthcare system that is being developed by Apple. The iPhone maker is envisioning HealthKit as an important tool for collecting health- or fitness-related information, primarily through the use of iPhone apps together with medical and fitness monitoring devices.
As utilized in the aforementioned trials, HealthKit will be used to gather data (with the patient's consent, of course) from several health apps and then collated for the doctors' convenience. Physicians from one of the two hospitals, Stanford University Hospital, stated that they are collaborating with the mobile manufacturing giant in tracking the blood sugar levels of diabetic children. As for the other hospital, Duke University -- they are working on a pilot that will monitor blood pressure, weight, and other health-related metrics for heart disease and cancer patients.
The overall aim of the trials is to achieve better accuracy and speed in relaying healthcare data, which sadly in the wireless age is still sometimes done by phone or fax. With faster healthcare systems like HealthKit, doctors are hoping that medical problems can be detected and relayed early. In the coming weeks, the medical community will have a clearer idea of how exactly HealthKit will impact the process of health information gathering.
Apple had actually hinted about the trials a week ago when it announced the latest version of its mobile operating system, the iOS 8. However, the company did not provide any more details about the collaboration.
But it appears that the phone maker is settings its sights on working with healthcare providers in the country. As reported by Reuters, the company is indeed reaching out to other US hospitals -- Stanford and Duke are just the tip of the iceberg, a source said.
Manufacturers of medical devices are in on it too. One example is DexCom Inc., a manufacturer of blood sugar monitoring devices. DexCom recently revealed its plans of collaborating with Apple, Stanford, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), specifically in integrating with the HealthKit system.
As for health privacy concerns, Apple is promising that the data collected through HealthKit will remain secure. The phone maker is even considering establishing a HealthKit certification system for third party developers in order to ensure the patients' privacy.
While HealthKit helps doctors and healthcare workers gather data, Apple's healthcare system may also encourage the users and the patients themselves to be more active and more accurate in monitoring their health. Patients often commit errors when they are left to themselves with regards to collecting information about their health. But with the HealthKit system in place, data can be gathered not only more easily, but also more accurately.
And with the new releases iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch already integrated with HealthKit, users now have more accessible healthcare data-gathering tools at their disposal.
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