Apple promises their new health platform will offer an entirely new way for users to use their health and ﬁtness information obtained from other health apps. The new Health app is to have an easy-to-read dashboard for health and ﬁtness data, putting all the data – such as heart rate and blood sugar – in one place allowing easy access to a clear and current overview of the user’s health. The app also allows the creation of an emergency card with important health information — for example, blood type or allergies — that will be available from the Lock screen.
Apple has also created a new tool for developers called HealthKit, which allows different health and ﬁtness apps to work together. By using HealthKit developers can make their apps even more useful by allowing them to access health data. The user will be able to choose exactly what information to share. For example, they can allow the data from their blood pressure app to be automatically shared with their doctor.
“iOS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. For example, the Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance,” Apple said in announcing the new platform.
By partnering with Apple, organisations and providers of health services like the Mayo Clinic can offer their patients and information consumers easy access to personalised health information, guidance and care. Users will be able to monitor various HealthKit parameters through a dashboard which highlights trends and flags values that may need attention.
Such a platform would be an ideal solution for those in South Africa who live in rural areas and don’t have access to nearby healthcare facilities. By remotely sharing health information between doctors and patients travelling time could be reduced as well as associated costs.
The health platform will be released in spring 2014 as part of iOS 8 and is set to run on iPhones and iPads.