One of the many features of iOS 8 which Apple was touting during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was the introduction of a health focused application/application programming interface (API) called HealthKit. Since then, it seems like Apple’s been busy promoting and testing the API further by consulting both with professionals and many other players in the healthcare industry. However, it seems like things may not all be going well in the rollout and development of HealthKit.
One of the many features of HealthKit which Apple was touting at WWDC was the ability for healthcare professionals such as doctors to use and access patient data via the cloud where the data compiled by various devices and Apple’s HealthKit API. The accuracy and reliability of the data collected by Apple’s HealthKit has now come into question. Dr. Dushan Gunasekera, a healthcare financial services advisor explained, “One thing that is a problem is the purported accuracy of the data… whilst having this data could be of use, a doctor is unable to guarantee that whichever blood pressure monitor, glucose monitor or fitness tracker a patient is using will be accurate. Because of this, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be at a point where a doctor will take a look at your phone and be able to give a diagnosis.”
This statement casts some doubt on the claims of the tech company on their claims of the applications and potentialities of the HealthKit platform. In addition to this, the amount and depth of the data that will be collected by the HealthKit platform has also raised concerns with the healthcare professionals which Apple has engaged. Dr. Dushan Gunasekera believes that these data could cause patients to become complacent or paranoid. He states, “The key to Apple Health being useful all rests on the data produced being interpreted correctly,”. He further elaborates, “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.”
Apple is also rumoured to be working insurance providers. According to Bloomberg, the technology firm is touting HealthKit as an option for companies to monitor their employees to provide affordable healthcare coverage. This comes in the form of rewarding clients or employees with healthy habits with up to 30% of their annual insurance premiums which would definitely result in the price of insurance being reduced.