By Bill Kray
Will the iOS 8 Health app be just what the doctor ordered?
From the brief Monday announcement during the 2014 WWDC keynote, Health may initially be cherished by patients jogging to the Mayo Clinic in their specially equipped Nike shoes when iOS 8 ships in the Fall. Either hype from the rumor mill overstated reality or the app is still in a developmental stage.
Would you want your mobile device to text your doctor when you lift your heavy bottom from the computer chair and jog around the block? Do you dream of having instant notification to your surgeon when your heart rate spikes? Perhaps it's more practical, in your mind, to view recent lab reports on your smartphone.
Entrants in this mobile medical space have met with much resistance — about the same amount that hinders most doctors from venturing into social media. HIPAA restrictions are lengthy and breaking patient privacy restrictions carries stiff penalties. Therefore, whenever a medical institution hears or sees the word “share” in close proximity to “patient data” red flags go up. Now Apple wants to give it go — attempting to revolutionize healthcare as it did with music.
Some institutions, like Kaiser Permanente, have developed their own proprietary patient app. In fact, there are many health and fitness apps available in the iTunes App Store. What remains to be seen is whether Apple Health will become marginalized as a Mayo Clinic app.
The Health app keeps track of several different health metrics measured by various devices, including heart rate, calories, cholesterol, and more. Sleep patterns and prescribed medications can be recorded. It also features an “emergency card” that includes all of your important health information, including blood type and allergies, which can be displayed directly on the lock screen of an iOS device.
What is your early impression of the technology? Will it be a hit with healthcare providers or be ignored by the masses?