In Brief: Why Apple's Healthbook Is So Important

Mar 18 2014, 9:56pm CDT | by

Yesterday’s 9to5Mac – a highly-regarded Apple rumor website – offered a remarkable detailed look into the Healthbook application that may (or may not) be incorporated into iOS8, the next operating system update.

The App – organized like the current Passbook App – offers “cards” corresponding to a range of functionalities, including blood work, heart rate, hydration, nutrition, sleep, and blood glucose, among others.   It’s not clear at this point where these measurements are expected to come from: perhaps 3rd party device makers like Withings or Jawbone – thought for at least some functionalities, Apple is believed to be developing sensors of its own.

It’s a long path from sensor data to actionable information – and a long way from there to significantly improved health (to say nothing of reduced healthcare costs).  The vast majority of people are unlikely to derive significant health benefit from tracking their heart rate or hydration level – even if these were measured with reasonable accuracy (not a given); the same goes for many of other quantified parameters.

In some cases, however, the impact is likely to be profound and immediate – blood glucose monitoring in diabetics, for example.  It’s difficult to find the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes who isn’t frustrated by the difficulty of collecting and aggregating the data from the various blood glucose monitors a typical child might use – the interfaces are generally described as “awful” and “atrocious.”  By creating a common platform to which blood glucose data must be exported, Healthbook may catalyze the rapid, customer-friendly evolution of this critical area of biomedical sensors – and immediately improve patient care.  (This assumes Healthbook could be used to track the health data of loved ones, older as well as younger – a capability I’d view as essential.)

This “common platform” model could well be Healthbook’s path to impact; right now, the consumer sensor ecosystem is veritable Tower of Babel (equally true inside hospitals, by the way); interoperability and information sharing are major problems (my own example from wearables here).

Presumably, most sensor companies will decide it’s in their enlightened self-interest to play nicely with this platform, given its likely ubiquity.  This will enable Healthbook to consolidate data from a range of devices (a huge advance in itself), and provide a de facto minimal interoperability standard that new sensors will need to clear if they want to gain traction in the market.

I suspect there might be a less obvious but equally important upside to Healthbook as well.  Despite the diligent efforts of many companies, most patients still don’t “own” their personal health data in the way they own other important information; many are still content to have this information maintained and managed by doctors and staff, clinics and hospitals.  Healthbook may help catalyze an important perceptual transition here, and may help more patients realize that their health data is truly theirs, and not their physicians’.

Historically, such a transfer of responsibility might have appeared both foreign and overwhelming; yet Healthbook may make ownership of personal health data familiar and comfortable – a critical step in patient empowerment.

Moreover, if greater ownership of health data leads us to feel a greater sense of ownership of our health, a sense that we have the ability not only to maintain our health information, but also to influence, through our behavior, the data that’s collected – what a powerful and beneficial transformation this could be.

Source: Forbes Apple

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Apple’s New SIM Card Is Great For Travelers
Apple’s New SIM Card Is Great For Travelers
The latest iPad comes with SIM cards perfect for people on the go
 
 
Tim Cook Met With Chinese Officials On Privacy
Tim Cook Met With Chinese Officials On Privacy
The Chinese government has taken an interest in Apple’s security and privacy
 
 
Why Is Apple Pay The Most Secure Option Available?
Why Is Apple Pay The Most Secure Option Available?
Is Apple Pay really worth the hype?
 
 
Apple Planning to Open 25 New Stores in China within Two Years
Apple Planning to Open 25 New Stores in China within Two Years
Tim Cook reveals that Apple is thinking to build 25 additional stores in the massive Chinese market
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla