As many digital health providers waited with abated breath to integrate their products with the HealthKit, Apple’s decision to snap the HealthKit came as a setback for some who had already worked their product accordingly. There are players like FitStar who are waiting to re-submit their version of FitStar Personal Trainer that integrates with the HealthKit and was originally planned to release along with the iOS 8 release. Though there were some who had employed a wait and watch approach, have benefitted and are on the safer side like Runtastic and the RunKeeper who are waiting for the bug free second update.
A justified act
Apple’s withdrawal of HealthKit has been completely justified given the fact that iOS 8 itself isn’t yet ready. This explains why Apple wasn’t allowing HealthKit apps in its App Store until September 25th. However there are expectations and hopes that HealthKit will be made released with the iOS 8.0.2 update.
The consumerisation of healthcare
Apple’s HealthKit is more seen as a business strategy to gain into the healthcare industry similar to what iPod did to the music industry. Inspite of the hiccups, the healthcare industry is still gung-ho about the cultural shift HealthKit could bring – a consumer centric health revolution.
Now, the consumer is put to power by being able to decide which apps have access to their data by means of permissions. The consumer is now more at an advantage where all the health data is on a common platform available for all health devices and users can continue storing data even when on a new device. Also, now with iOS 8 operating system, health and fitness tracking data is all available to millions of iPhones that gives a huge thrust in the health app adoption rates. The ease with which the health and fitness data could be stored, tracked, accessed and used could bring about a big change in the behavior towards health and fitness.
Apple has so far announced to have partnered with Mayo Clinic, Fitbit, Withings and iDevices. It is well known that there are many other health service providers, manufacturers and developers that are currently designing their products and services with the HealthKit support.
What is HealthKit…
For the uninitiated, HealthKit is a developer framework with a set of tools and services that developers and manufacturers require to build apps and wearables compatible with Apple’s new Health app. The key aspect of the framework being the secured data storage and transfer between compatible apps and services.
The HealthKit is designed to consolidate the vital signs and workout statistics all on your phone. The user here is given the control of whether to share the data or no. The data is stored securely on the cloud server while also enabling access from any device and connect with any app that is compatible. It goes without saying that sharing of data between compatible devices is definitely secured than before.
This is precisely why it is the most anticipated and the healthcare market is awaiting its release. The plethora of opportunities it provides to both hardware and the software players makes it a lucrative business opportunity.
The Health App from Apple
In addition to the HealthKit, Apple has offered a new health and fitness app for iPhone named Health. The app was rolled out along iOS 8 earlier this month. The Health app is a visual dashboard that extracts your health and fitness data from compatible apps and smart devices and displays through an easy to understand representation.
The Health app is also capable of displaying blood pressure, sleep levels, body weight and glucose levels when connected with smart devices that can measure these statistics. It can also be termed as an app of convenience that gives you an overview of all the health statistics on a single app. Another high is, the Health app fits the Apple Watch best, which means that you can replace your fitness wearables with this single smartwatch.
The Security part of it…
These features will naturally bring in the question of security which Apple has rightly addressed. The Health App comes with granular controls that make you the decision maker to decide if you prefer sharing your health data with another app or no. Additionally, it comes with a promise from Apple that the data will not be compromised for any reasons and will be stored locally as well.
In conclusion, though the Apple’s HealthKit strategy to take the healthcare industry by storm, it is also to be noted that these solutions are only iPhone friendly, meaning Google has a good opportunity in this space with its Google Fit architecture on Android that allows cross-platform development which HealthKit cannot afford. Apple’s underlying aim is to capture and be the center of health data is clear with their aggressive push against rivals Google & Samsung has to be wait and watched upon.