2014: The Year Apple Makes a Big Play in Health Care?

With the rumored September release of Apple’s “HealthKit” service, the tech giant may soon be tapping into the $9 billion-plus mobile health care market, becoming a mainstay for big-name health providers, Reuters reports

The Cupertino-based firm unveiled the service in June, announcing that it could collect and store a user’s fitness and health information all in one app, called “Health,” which will be available only through the iOS8 operating system — expected to be released with the iPhone 6 in less than a month. 

Along with its Health rollout, Apple also previously mentioned HomeKit, a platform that aims to transform the iPhone into a remote control, turning a house into a smart home. The rumored HomeKit service, which would also be part of iOS8, will have the capability to control garage doors, thermostats and other home systems. The tech giant hasn’t released any further information on the HomeKit service. 

For HealthKit, Apple has been in talks with health providers at Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, as well as with Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ:MDRX), a competitor to electronic health records provider Epic Systems, to discuss how the tool will work for physicians and patients. 

“While the talks may not amount to anything concrete, they underscore how Apple is intent on making health data, such as blood pressure, pulse and weight, available for consumers and health providers to view in one place,” Reuters writes. 

This type of data is being collected by thousands of third-party health care software applications and medical devices, but isn’t yet centrally stored — a feature Apple hopes to tap into in order to allow physicians to better monitor patients between visits (with the patient’s consent) so the doctors can make better diagnostic and treatment decisions, Reuters reports. 

Previously, Apple had announced partnerships with Nike Inc, Epic and the Mayo Clinic. 

“Dozens of major health systems that use Epic’s software will soon be able to integrate health and fitness data from HealthKit into Epic’s personal health record, called MyChart, according to a person briefed by Apple,” Reuters reports. “Kaiser Permanente is currently piloting a number of mobile apps that leverage HealthKit, two people have said, and is expected to reach out to Apple to discuss a more formal partnership.” 

Read the full Reuters article here

Written by Emily Study

Emily Study