As a physician, you’ve probably been watching the news about Apple Inc.’s new HealthKit with interest and wondering if it will be of value to you in your practice. Now, according to a Reuters article by Christina Farr, two prestigious U.S. hospitals are launching medical trials on the product to determine its value to doctors across the country.
Apple’s HealthKit is still under development but, as you’ve likely heard, it has big plans for the healthcare industry. The new product features regulated medical devices, like glucose monitors with accompanying iPhone apps that, with a patient’s consent, can send information to HealthKit to be viewed by you and other physicians in one place.
Stanford University Hospital & Duke Explore HealthKit
At the moment, Stanford University Hospital has a trial in the works with Apple that will allow physicians to track blood sugar levels in kids with diabetes. Duke University, on the other hand, is developing a pilot study in which they’ll track blood pressure, weight and other data for cancer or heart disease patients.
As you know, right now this sort of data reporting is done by phone and fax and takes a lot more time and effort. With the new HealthKit information sharing system, data will be easily available, and you may be able to monitor patients more carefully and potentially warn them of impending problems.
Lower Healthcare Costs & Healthier Patients?
According to the Reuters article, these two trials are just the beginning. The company has plans to work with other healthcare providers across the country, including hospitals that are exploring different ways to use technological advances to improve preventative care, lower healthcare costs and, of course, keep patients healthier.
Apparently, medical device makers are participating in the Stanford and Duke trials too. Says Farr—citing Chief Technical Officer Jorge Valdes—DexCom Inc , which makes blood sugar monitoring equipment, is in talks with Apple, Stanford and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about integrating with HealthKit.
Privacy—a Potential Drawback
This all sounds like a wonderful, potential boon to physicians and patients, but there are some concerns to consider, namely: privacy. Critics of HealthKit have pointed out the possibility of sensitive data being hacked into or otherwise abused. To counter the concern, Apple is considering creating some sort of certification to ensure data management standards and security.
The other question we have in our minds is, will this make day-to-day patient monitoring easier for physicians, or could the constant stream of data potentially add more to the workload? And of course, we’re also wondering about the margin of error. Are we 100% certain the data will be accurate?
We Want to Know What You Think
It’s a fascinating discussion, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What do you think? Are you excited about the possibility of incorporating HealthKit into your practice? Feel free to share your thoughts below.