Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL is involved in discussions with major healthcare providers across the U.S. about the rollout of its HealthKit app. The health & fitness tracking tool will be part of the iOS 8, which will be released this fall with the iPhone 6. HealthKit will work as a central hub for the users’ personal health data. Sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters that Apple has held talks with John Hopkins, Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic. The company also discussed the potential rollout with medial records providers Epic Systems and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc NASDAQ:MDRX.
Apple wants to make HealthKit the central hub of health data
The Cupertino-based company announced HealthKit in June at its WWDC 2014 event. The company has already said that it will be a framework available to third-party healthcare providers for storage and aggregation of users’ health data. That will let consumers and health providers view health data such as blood pressure, weight, pulse, glucose levels, insulin, etc., in one place.
Currently, the health data is collected by thousands of third-party medical devices and healthcare software applications. But’s it’s not centrally stored. If HealthKit becomes the central hub of health data, physicians will be able to better monitor patients between visits, upon the patient’s consent. Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL is already working with Mayo Clinic, Nike Inc NYSE:NKE and Epic Systems.
Mayo Clinic is currently testing a service to flag patients when results from devices and apps are abnormal, along with treatment recommendations and follow-up information. Soon, health systems using Epic’s software will be able to integrate user health data from HealthKit into MyChart, Epic’s personal health record.
Apple working hard to navigate the privacy and regulatory issues
Forrester Research analyst Skip Snow said that Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPLis entering the health market with a data play. The company wants to be the hub of health data. The Cupertino-based company’s developer relations team is working with fitness and medical app developers such as iHealth Labs Inc. Patients will have full control over whether they want to share their health data with third-party apps. The tech giant will incorporate iCloud for data storage. Sources told Reuters that data storage and transfer between Apple’s NASDAQ:AAPL servers will be fully encrypted.
And then there is the big regulatory and privacy issues. The company executives have held several meeting with the FDA and hired many health experts and attorneys to meet the privacy and regulatory requirements.
Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL shares inched up 0.25% to $96.23 in pre-market trading Tuesday.