Has Apple Won the Hearts of the Nation's Top Hospitals with HealthKit?
Apple’s latest health care technology is quickly spreading among major U.S. hospitals, showing early promise and rivaling competitors such as Google and Samsung, according to a recent report from Reuters.
The report states that 14 of the 23 top hospitals in the nation were already trialing pilot programs with Apple’s HealthKit service to monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Google and Samsung, meanwhile, were reportedly only beginning talks to secure partners for their own health-monitoring systems (Google Fit and S Health).
Apple’s HealthKit acts as a repository for patient-generated health information like blood pressure, weight or heart rate and the pilot aims to help physicians monitor patients with such chronic conditions as diabetes and hypertension.
All three companies are taking advantage of a number of trends, including the spread of powerful smartphones, the popularity of fitness trackers, and the inclusion of internet connections in even common household appliances such as scales.
Apple, however, seems to be first out of the blocks in tackling the more difficult problem of getting data collected by these devices into doctors’ hands. At WWDC last year, the company announced a partnership with Epic Systems, the leading provider in the US of digital health records. Epic has already built apps to give doctors access to patients’ data and currently handles data for more than half of the US population.
It’s this sort of experience that could help Apple get ahead.
Apple's move into mobile health tech comes as the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare reform efforts aim to provide incentives for doctors to keep patients healthy. The aim is to move away from the "fee for service" model, which has tended to reward doctors for pricey procedures rather than for outcomes.