Apple’s upcoming HealthKit feature in iOS 8 could become the company’s ace in the hole, especially if an Apple-made wearable is involved. But it might not get the traction among medical professionals Apple has been hoping for when it becomes available.
A report from Forbes outlines a number of concerns doctors have about the potential accuracy of Apple’s platform.
“One thing that is a problem is the purported accuracy of the data,” explained Dr. Dushan Gunasekera, a healthcare financial services advisor. “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.”
Apple has hired a number of professionals with experience in the medical field, suggesting the company has done everything in its power to create a reliable platform. But it’s not just accuracy that’s concerning doctors. Privacy is another issue, Gunasekera said, while he also believes giving users more in-depth information on themselves could make people more paranoid‚ or even complacent.
“The key to Apple Health being useful all rests on the data produced being interpreted correctly,” Gunasekera. “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.”
One aspect where HealthKit could be a huge help is with diabetics and pregnancy. For diabetics, the iPhone could be used to alert a patient if their blood sugar falls too low; for pregnant women, it could help monitor their heart rate at all times.
Apple has reportedly approached some big healthcare providers about using HealthKit when it launches, though it appears many in the community have some concerns about what the platform is capable of. HealthKit is launching in iOS 8 this fall, that much we know. Whether it’ll become a major fixture in the healthcare industry remains to be seen.