Among many thing announced by Apple on Monday at WWDC was HealthKit. The new iOS 8 functionality has been a long-time coming, and has been the subject of several leaks over the past few months. Anyhow, HealthKit acts a central hub/repository where third-party apps can store data in one central location. The idea being that the central location for all this health related data will offer quick and easy access to all information. Apple did not really delve into the specifics, but noted that they are working with Nike to incorporate their apps into HealthKit. Reuters noted that Apple will also be working with the Mayo Clinic:
The company will work in tandem with Nike Inc, a major player in fitness tracking, and the Mayo Clinic on the new feature, which will be included in the latest mobile software.1
There was a second component to the HealthKit, entitled simply Health. Health is the consumer facing side of the HealthKit third-party data repository. Re/code noted a major element of HealthKit:
For example, [Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Crag] Federighi said, when a patient takes a blood pressure reading and records it with the iPhone, HealthKit will automatically notify the Mayo Clinic app, which will know whether the patient’s reading is within normal parameters. If it’s not, the app would alert health-care professionals.
In this way, HealthKit is both a “push” and “pull” data solution: It will pull data from third-party health and fitness apps, but also push it without the user having to manually do so, provided that the user opts in.2
This is an incredible difference between HealthKit and the existing health/fitness apps and software out there today. The existing health apps are great at gathering immense amounts of data and info, but they leave much to be desired in terms of interpreting and using the data. Apple, with HealthKit, essentially leaves all interpretation to the professionals.
- Christina Farr and Edwin Chan, Reuters, “Apple unwraps ‘Healthkit’ alongside Mac, iPhone features,” 2 June 2014 ▲
- Lauren Goode, Re/code, “Apple Looks to Consolidate Health and Fitness Data With HealthKit,” 2 June 2014 ▲