Mobile Health Apps and Apple’s HealthKit

 In Software Development

We love technology at SOLTECH.  It should come as no surprise that our office has been discussing and debating health-related technology devices for months.  Several team members have adopted FitBit and compete against each other for their 10,000+ steps, and being top of the leaderboard on a daily basis.  Others use GPS-based apps to track running, walking, and even kayaking data; and there are those that had decided to keep to the sidelines, waiting to see what Apple would announce.  With the Apple HealthKit introduced to developers at WWDC in June, it became apparent that there was more to Apple’s vision than competing head-to-head with what exists in the health app marketplace today.

What is interesting about Apple’s approach is their shared data repository: a collection of health and fitness data that is potentially available to any mobile app on your phone.  What this means is that mobile applications written with Apple’s HealthKit can contribute data to the repository, as well as utilize any data that exists in the repository, subject to the user’s, regardless if the mobile app originally added the data or not.  The open nature of the repository will make it easier for health and fitness data to flow seamlessly between applications, allowing a user to gather a more holistic, and interrelated, view of their health.

With Apple’s health-related database always available to you, you’re smart phone becomes your own personal health hub, and you gain control over what data is gathered, and how that data is used.  It can be shared between your different mobile devices, analyzed and interacted with by your choice of apps, and potentially opened up to doctors, hospitals, and other health experts to either augment or replace their existing records about you.  It is appealing that the current tedious process of writing the same personal data multiple times, on multiple forms, every time you seek medical attention, could be reduced or go away completely, and that our interaction with our data becomes more personal and hence more valuable.

Apple’s HealthKit is also exciting for those who want to offer health-focused mobile apps.  Having a standardized platform as a basis for your application, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with, and add value to, an existing set of health-related data, means that development efforts may be reduced, while enabling game-changing health and fitness services that we have yet to see before.  The data currently stored by HealthKit is quite extensive, too.  Everything from body measurements, fitness tracking, nutrition tracking, testing results, sleep analysis and vitals are supported. It is going to be exciting to see where this technology takes us in the next 1-2 years!

If you want to learn more about Apple’s HealthKit and see if it might be a good fit for a your health or fitness related mobile app idea, please give us a call!

 

Photo by Michael J. Slezak (JW) / CC BY

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