Apple has long provided health tracking and management, free of charge, to its vast customer base through the Apple Health application, which comes installed standard in almost all of the company’s portable devices. The already expansive repertoire of health data tracking services record everything from daily steps and elevation changes to vitals, sleep, emergency preferences, dietary intake, and more.
Recently, at the Apple-hosted, annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the company announced new additions to its current health app offerings. The new tools include a steadiness feature to the step counter, and an EHR sharing service to assist in family health management.
The steadiness tool estimates walking stability and provides resources straight through the app for increasing balance and posture and for preventing long-term problems. This tool is especially helpful to older users, as it works predictively over time to target the causes of falls, which are one of the leading causes of injury and death in U.S. seniors.
The second feature, a family health sharing feature, allows all participating users to link collected health data to each other, enabling cross-monitoring between family members. This addition will allow for a better system of checking in on family members or dependents, especially those that are elderly, at-risk, or have decreased mobility. This new feature also includes data sharing capabilities with healthcare providers directly from the Apple health app, allowing clinicians to review health data from potential or current patients.
The main concern addressed about Apple’s new service offerings is one of privacy. The sensitivity of EHRs far surpasses most of the information that can be gathered through the health app regularly. Thankfully, executives at Apple are ensuring users that the data will be encrypted when sent between the devices, and inaccessible to the company in any regard, as is standard with most of Apple’s privacy agreements. Users will also have granular control of which data is shared, and information that is shared can be revoked by the user at any given time.
Apple’s newly developed health tools will improve the connectivity between family members through this new health-data sharing hub and create a more open environment to effortlessly manage and look out for the family and dependents that need it most.