According to some doctors, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new HealthKit app poses almost as many potential problems as it does benefits. An article in Forbes published on Thursday August 21st highlights that a number of medical authorities are now stepping up to the plate to explain HealthKit and elaborate on the pluses and minuses of this ground-breaking health care technology.
Apple HealthKit details
Apple’s newly released all-in-one health app is called Healthkit. The app connects with both the sensors in your iPhone (such as a gyroscope for counting steps) and third party products from firms including Nike, Fitbit, Wahoo and Withings, among others.
Moreover, HealthKit is designed to display all the health information on one phone with a simple dashboard. Apple also announced it was partnering with the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. and the Cambridge Trust in the UK to develop methods for delivering the HealthKit sensor results to your doctor or even to contact a hospital in some cases.
A doctor’s knowledge is required
According to Dr. Rakesh Kapila, a general practitioner at the South Kensington GP Clinic in London, a doctor’s knowledge is needed to interpret results. “The app needs to be programmable in an individual way specific for the patient with individual limits set. Not everybody will be expected to achieve results within the normal range. Look at an athlete with a resting heart rate of 40 beats per minute, this is abnormally low for the majority of other people… there is no perspective available from raw data and interpretation by a doctor in relation to the patient’s overall medical condition.”
Impact on health care mentality
“Apple Health will almost certainly affect the mentality of patients, however, whether it will make them more paranoid or more aware is less clear,” says London-based Dr. Dushan Gunasekera. “The key to Apple Health being useful all rests on the data produced being interpreted correctly. There is certainly a risk that people will see a sharp dip in one of their graphs and interpret that as a big problem, when in fact the reading could still fall within a normal range.”
The privacy of health care records is another serious concern regarding health care apps such as HealthKit. “A further issue is with data protection,” Gunasekera explains. “All medical records are now kept in software devices and whilst it might be beneficial for patients to have their own medical records on their smartphones, who owns this data has to be considered.”