After a few start-up bugs, Apple’s launch of its highly touted tool for health and fitness app developers, HealthKit, seems to have recovered and aims to provide a doorway through which medical information, history, current health and fitness monitoring and preferences flow.
It is part of iOS 8, Apple’s latest operating system update.
The eventual goal is an interactive relationship between other apps such as Nike+ Run or Weight Watchers. Epic Systems Corp., a vendor for hospital and physician software, will make its MyChart app compatible with HealthKit.
The data repository would be shared — with patients’ permission — with health care providers. Electronic Medical Records technology allows data to “travel” with patients beyond a specific doctor’s office or medical facility.
Want to publish your own articles on DistilINFO Publications?
Send us an email, we will get in touch with you.
In addition, Apple recently announced it will partner with the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University. Reuters reports the latter will help Type 1 diabetes patients to track their progress via HealthKit on iPods.
Ultimately, HealthKit apps would be maximized on the upcoming Apple Watch.
“This has pretty profound implications for chronic disease management, such as diabetes, to be able to track how a patient is doing, providing a care team with a more complete picture of the patients health story,” Sumit Rana, chief technology officer for Epic, told industry trade publisher Health Data Management.
The region’s larger health care providers, including UPMC and Allegheny Health Network, have not been in talks with Apple for specific studies. UPMC already has its own Microsoft Windows 8 pilot version of EMR technology, called Convergence. Some doctors began using it in February.
“For UPMC, mobility in health care is of paramount importance,” said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at UPMC and interim president of the UPMC Technology Development Center in Larimer, Pa.
“We have a purpose-driven approach to mobility — we are not just enabling mobility for the sake of mobility. Our goal is to bring the data to life and make visualization of health data both relevant and actionable by the clinician and the patient.”
The biggest question will be if users can trust that their personal information will be secure. Press materials for HealthKit state that the data is encrypted when the iPhone is locked, with pass code or Touch ID enabled. But apps accessing HealthKit will have their own privacy policies as well.
Earlier this month, the theft of celebrity photos backed up to Apple’s iCloud created doubt. Apple released a statement claiming it was not a security breach but instead a result of its accounts being hacked. Regardless, Apple notes in its developer library, that HealthKit data is not synced across multiple devices, nor is it backed up to the Cloud.
Guidelines for writing privacy policies are offered by Apple online.
Shrestha said UPMC is well aware of HIPAA privacy concerns: “In this day and age of the dark web and security breaches and hacks, one can never be too careful. However, HIPAA is a guideline and should not be used as an excuse to not make data flow more freely through our systems for the benefit of patients.” — (AP)
Date: October 06, 2014