Apple has big plans for digital health

Apple has big plans for digital healthApple has increasingly targeted the health sector with its products and services such as its HealthKit and ResearchKit. Anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg now reveal that the company has even bigger plans for the future.

The article says Apple is working on new apps for the Apple Watch which will track sleep patterns and gauge the time it takes for heart rate to fall from peak to resting level. At the moment there is no sleep tracking function unless you opt for a third party app which you manually need to switch on and off.

The Apple Watch is a good tool for monitoring your health data and tracking your activity. It is fair to say, though, that it is fairly limited in terms of interpreting that data. For example, while the heart rate sensor take a measurement every few minutes or so, the watch does not provide you with your resting heart rate, a key measure of health and fitness. The faster processor, built-in GPS tracker and water resistance in the second version of the watch does little to change this.

Sources claim that Apple is planning to build on its HealthKit and ResearchKit software solutions so that they interpret information, turning it into advice for users, doctors and others. This could also be the reason behind its recent takeover of Gliimpse, a startup that specializes in helping users securely collect and share their personal medical records digitally. The acquisition may help the Cupertino company to venture into medical records management one day,

“If you drive for a while and your car gets too hot, it says pull over. If you need an oil change, it says check your oil. What’s the equivalent for the body?” Cook said at a May conference in Amsterdam.

“Health is a huge issue around the world and we think it’s ripe for simplicity and a new view.”

The Bloomberg report goes on to say we are unlikely to see more sensors in the Watch in the near future. The accelerometer can generate most of the useful data needed to monitor a person’s well-being, while a glucometer or blood-pressure sensor would only help a small percentage of users. Also, adding medical sensors may require Apple to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration which would delay the product cycle.

The move towards making the Apple Watch into more of a health care device makes perfect sense. The ambition is obviously not only to gather lots of data, but also to generate useful real-time insights from that information. By diversifying into health care services and making it a key business Apple will tap into a market with an enormous potential revenue stream.

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Dusan Johnson

Dusan is our dedicated sports editor which means he gets to indulge his two passions: writing and gadgets. He never leaves his house without a minimum of two wearable devices to monitor his every move.

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