Apple is on a roll with new technology and products, now with attention being given to the HealthKit tool available in iOS 8. Because of its potential, Stanford and Duke Universities are gearing up to conduct two separate medical trials that researchers hope will prove beneficial to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer patients.
HealthKit is designed to power new healthcare-related pilot programs, which are scheduled to launch within weeks. The focus of these programs is to help improve both speed and accuracy of reporting data, something traditionally performed via fax machines and phone.
As a result, patients will have the ability to track trends in the privacy and comfort of home, thereby making it much easier to monitor information that may be vitally important. Usually, someone taking blood pressure medication for hypertension but also tracking measurements of daily blood pressure daily provide the information to the doctor in person or by phone. Instead, HealthKit’s automated system will handle data collection and submission.
For the trial being conducted at Stanford, patients with Type 1 Diabetes will be provided with an iPod touch whereby blood sugar levels are monitored. Included in this trial will be medical device makers, as well as DexCom’s blood sugar monitoring equipment, which uses an inserted sensor, placed under a patient’s abdominal skin, to transmit data every five minutes to a handheld receiver.
This receiver is designed to measure levels of blood glucose but also forward the information to an installed mobile application on an iPad or iPhone, simply tapping the HealthKit tools located in Apple’s iOS 8 mobile operating system.
Reportedly, Apple is thinking about a “HealthKit Certification” being required for all third-party developers, thereby making it possible for the company to help ensure user data remains private, especially requiring data to be securely stored but also never sold to advertisers.
Restrictions for HealthKit were outlined by Apple in August, one designed to prevent developers from distributing or selling sensitive data collected by the iOS 8 application programming interface. Specifically, Apple states that at no time can developers sell health information gathered about end-users through the HealthKit API to data brokers, information resellers, and advertising platforms.
Apple has also banned gathered information from being used for any purpose outside of providing services relating to health and/or fitness. The plans for HealthKit are ambitious and with incredible promise, Apple is currently in talks with several large healthcare providers in which they would facilitate the use of this new platform.
All of the tools now available to developers will become accessible to millions upon millions of mobile devices by next week, as soon as iOS 8 launches for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch.