Apple’s HealthKit platform is already proving popular among major U.S. hospitals, with more than half already using the technology to monitor patients remotely. The pilot programs allow doctors to keep an eye on things like blood pressure, weight, and heart rate without calling patients in.
Reuters reports that 14 of the top 23 hospitals they contacted have already rolled out HealthKit pilot programs, which “aim to help physicians monitor patients with such chronic conditions as diabetes and hypertension.”
Keeping an eye on these things allows physicians to detect early signs of trouble and take action before a medical problem becomes serious. The hope is that HealthKit will help avoid repeat admissions, which hospitals are now penalized for under new U.S. guidelines.
The HealthKit platform, which comes baked into Apple’s latest iOS 8 software for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, serves as a central repository for all of a user’s health and fitness data. It works alongside third-party apps and accessories and records everything from blood pressure to glucose levels, as well as diet and exercise.
Apple says that over 600 developers have begun integrating HealthKit into their own applications since it made its debut last fall. Some of those include popular names like MyFitnessPal, Nike+, Misfit, and Fitness Buddy.
Similar services are now being offered by rivals like Google and Samsung on Android-powered devices, but Reuters says that these companies have only just begun reaching out to hospitals to launch pilot programs of their own.
“Those trying out Apple’s service included at least eight of the 17 hospitals on one list ranking the best hospitals, the U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll,” the report reads. “Google and Samsung had started discussions with just a few of these hospitals.”
Apple’s rivals could be missing out on an incredibly lucrative opportunity. The U.S. healthcare market alone is worth $3 trillion at present, and research firm IDC predicts that 70 percent of healthcare organizations worldwide will invest in apps, wearables, and remote monitoring technology just like HealthKit by 2018.
It’s certainly not too late for Google to grab a piece of the pie, though; Reuters says that many hospitals are keen to trial Google Fit, which is baked into recent versions of Android, due to the platform’s majority share of the worldwide smartphone market.
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