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New Apple iOS adds Health

Typically, when Apple unveils a new operating system much of the talk is about new features, faster processing speeds and new visualizations.  Apple’s unveiling of their most recent operating system is no different.  However, this release has a unique focus: health.

Apple is getting into the quantified self health movement with their new Health app.  The app will collect data on your heart rate, activity, blood pressure, calories burden and other health dimensions.  Engaget reports:

The initiative works with companies like Nike to bring all your health information into one place, under the Health app in the next update to iOS. It looks a lot like Passbook, using cards to identify various stats. Thusly, it enables customization of the stats you want tracked and how you want it presented.

In addition to Nike, the Health app is also being developed with consultation from the Mayo Clinic.  One question is, who owns this data?  The user?  Apple?  Nike?  Right now it appears the answer is Apple and this data will likely be highly valuable.

Personalized, portable, electronic health records have long been a dream for many in the Health IT world. This app is not a replacement for electronic medical records (EMR), it  does not appear to contain information from physician, hospital or other health care provider visits. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction towards reliable health monitoring.

Correction: Apple’s HealthKit actually does plan to be intergated with EMRs.  Apple is working with Epic and the Mayo Clinic to develop this capability.  HealthKit is a standard way to store information (that can later be used with other apps).  The information will presumably work with data from Epic’s My Chart system.  However is HealthKit just another failed attempt at personalized health records along the lines of Google Health (RIP ‒ 1/1/2012), Revolution Health (RIP ‒ 2/1/2010) and then “last-PHR-standing,” Microsoft’s Healthvault?


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