Duke University in North Carolina and Oschner Health System in Louisiana are two of the first hospitals to incorporate HealthKit into their day-to-day operations. Duke’s Dr. Ricky Bloomfield and Oschner’s Dr. Richard Milani spoke about their experiences at the mHealth Summit earlier this week. MobiHealthNews reported from the summit.
About HIPAA and privacy concerns:
To allay any concerns about HIPAA and privacy, the programs Duke and Oschner are piloting take data from patients’ apps into the EHR, but don’t send any data back out, Milani stressed. In addition, HealthKit addresses the problem of physicians being overwhelmed with data by only providing them with the specific fields that they request.
HealthKit has a solid base but is clearly designed for growth:
Right now, Apple reads 50 to 60 data fields from tracking devices, but Bloomfield sees that as version 1.0 of HealthKit.
“Their intent with version 1.0 was simply to account for the use cases that are currently available in the market,” he said. “And that’s why you see things like activity tracking, vital signs, blood pressure. You also see elements related to asthma — number of times you used your inhaler, peak flow. There were devices already in market that require this to support them. As the use cases grow Apple wants to be there to support it.”
Later in the talk he speculated that as wearable devices become more common and more advanced, 50 or 60 fields will become “50,000 or 60,000″.
Right now, only HealthKit integrates with the EHR. But Bloomfield and Milani are keeping their eyes on Google Fit as well. The problem right now is that Google Fit allows developers to create their own data fields, which allows the platform to be more open, but hurts efforts at standardization.
“I think Google needs to do a little bit more to get it into the place where HealthKit currently functions, but I can’t wait until we can use Android devices as well as iOS devices, one to the other,” Bloomfield said. “For me the most important thing is we give this ability to our patients. And I don’t care which device they have, I just want them to be able to give us the data so we can make good clinical decisions to help them out.”
There’s a lot more in the body of the article, but the pulled highlights should give you a sense of where this is going. The sophistication of both pilot programs is impressive. Both programs were incredibly well received. Finally, most importantly to Apple, the speakers were enthusiastic supporters of HealthKit, taking the good and the bad in stride, with eyes set on the future.