Article written for 
Bluberry Pi Consulting by Kainoelani Lee

Recently, Apple, one of the world’s leading technology brands, has made its grand entrance into the healthcare world with its new and improved healthcare application.

The application “makes it easy to learn about your health and start reaching your goals. It consolidates health data from iPhone, Apple Watch, and third-party apps you already use, so you can view all your progress in one convenient place,” according to Apple.

The company is considered the latest tech giant to enter the healthcare industry, following a disrupt from Amazon and its announced alliances.

With the newly improved healthcare app, iPhone users at more than 39 health systems, have easy access to their health records via the app. Health care systems partnered with Apple include Stanford Medicine, Scripps, NYU Langone Medical Center, Partners Health Care, Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and Duke University Medical Center.

Medical information such as allergies, medical conditions, vaccinations, lab tests, medical procedures, and vitals are immediately available to users. In the past, medical records were only available to users who had signed up for the Apple Beta Software Program, a pre-release version of the healthcare app.

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones”, said Darren Dworkin, Cedars-Sinai Chief Information Officer.

The app is available to any iPhone user who participates in the latest Apple iPhone update, iOS 11.3. All data is protected and encrypted with the user’s iPhone passcode.

Along with important user medical information, the app also includes four main health categories:

  • Activity
  • Sleep
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition

All of which plays an important role in a person’s overall health, according to Apple. Tapping on a single category will take users to a new screen that displays a comprehensive report of its last recorded data.

Take a look at the featured categories:

#1 Activity:

The “activity” feature measures a user’s movements. It tracks steps and distance traveled with third-party fitness app metrics, and even takes note as to how long you stand and how many calories your body burns throughout the day. You can manually input data into the health app, so no information will go missed.

#2 Sleep:

The “sleep” feature gives users a detailed analysis of their sleep patterns and hours of sleep per day. Although the Apple Watch does not yet include a sleep tracking feature, there are other sleep tracking watches such as Huawei Band 2 Pro which are compatible with the health app. You can use the clock app to set a bedtime, and a wake up call, which will cause the app to notify you whenever it reaches the set time. Once you use your phone, the health app will log that as your “wake up” time.

#3 Mindfulness:

The “mindfulness” feature provides helpful tools and recommended apps to enhance a users self-care techniques. These techniques include breathing and ways to decompress in order to maintain balance throughout your day. A recommended application to link with your health app is the Breathe app on Apple Watch, according to Apple. The feature shows the number of hours a user has spent being mindful.

#4 Nutrition:

The “nutrition” feature provides users a space to better manage their nutritional lifestyle goals, such as “counting carbs, calories, caffeine, or a host of other important nutritional metrics. The app allows users to hold themselves accountable in knowing whether they are obtaining the appropriate nourishment needed in their daily routines. The “nutrition” feature can be paired with other health apps such as Weight Watchers or UP Coffee in order to easily maintain and transfer previous data.

But that’s not all…

Apart from the four featured categories, you can also set up your medical identification (ID). A Medical ID allows first responders to quickly obtain your vitals from your phone, as well as information such as your blood type, allergies, conditions and more. A toggle will be available to make for easy access when your iPhone is locked, according to Wareable.

The app also allows you to register emergency contacts, which will automatically send an SOS message, as well as your location to the selected contacts if the Emergency SOS feature is ever used. You also have the option to sign up as an organ donor with Donate Life America via the health app.

Apple’s first debut with the healthcare app was back in 2014, but the brand plans to continuously make progressive changes towards “empowering medical researchers, doctors, and you [users]”.

With businesses moving from paper to digital, Apple could pose as a potential threat to the conventional healthcare system.  

“Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond,” said to Dworkin.

References:

Becker, R. (2018, March 29). Apple’s Health app can now display medical records from 39 health systems. Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/29/17176740/apple-health-records-app-ios-update

IOS – Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.apple.com/lae/ios/health/

Sumra, H. L. (2018, February 23). How to use Apple Health: Everything you need to know. Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.wareable.com/apple/how-to-use-apple-health-iphone-fitness-app-960