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How Apple HealthKit Could Actually Help Save Lives

by Jacob Kleinman | September 15, 2014September 15, 2014 9:00 pm PST

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Earlier this year Google CEO Larry Page claimed the company could help save 100,000 lives per year if it was allowed to analyze healthcare data the same way it does your search history. Now it looks like Apple may be on its way to solving that problem with HealthKit, a new platform for tracking and analyzing healthcare data the company first announced at WWDC 2014.

Despite earlier reports that some doctors were uncomfortable with Apple’s push into healthcare, a new report from Reuters shows how two major hospitals are already working with the company to develop new HealthKit programs.

Reuters focuses on one study at Stanford University Hospital tracking blood sugar levels in children diagnosed with diabetes, and a second at Duke University measuring blood pressure, weight and other factors for victims of heart disease or cancer. Both are planning to take advantage of HealthKit and are developing new initiatives for the platform.

The key advantage Apple’s platform has over the services currently used to track healthcare data is speed. Most of that information is still currently transferred by phone or even by fax, so putting it all in an online database should be a huge improvement. It should also help improve accuracy by simplifying the process of transferring all that data.

Security and privacy, especially in light of the recent iCloud hacks, may be major pain points for consumer trust. Apple has plans beef up security with a HealthKit Certification program that requires every device to store its data securely. Apple also blocks companies from selling any information they gather to advertisers.

The company reportedly plans to work with healthcare organizations around the country, though for now it’s unclear if and when HealthKit will expand beyond the U.S.

Reuters

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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