We’ve been excited by Apple’s Health app and the significant potential it has to change the way patients and physicians interact.
Especially exciting is Epic Health systems — the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that covers more than fifty percent of the patient population — now offering the ability to integrate health data from the Health app into a patient’s EMR so that physicians can view patient health metrics and make actionable decisions based on this.
What is very concerning though is the lack of integration of the Health app with the iPad. Apple’s Health app is capable of getting metrics from peripheral devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, and other wearable devices.
The iPad is a natural vehicle to store this information. Currently, you can only use the Health app on two devices: an iPhone 4s or later, and an iPod Touch 5th generation.
Pew’s research on tablet ownership as of 2013 showed that unlike smartphone ownership, which is most popular among younger adults from ages 18 to 34, the highest rates of tablet ownership among adults is in their late thirties and early forties.
For those who are ages 55 to 65, a demographic that is essential for health providers to hit aggressively to manage chronic diseases, a staggering 28% of them own a tablet.
The older demographics, who have a higher incidence of chronic diseases and need more health metric tracking are the ones who stand to benefit from Apple’s Health app the most.
The reasons why the Health app isn’t available for the iPad aren’t clear. The iPad lacks the M7 and M8 activity tracking chip, but the utility of Apple’s Health app isn’t in actively tracking your health. Rather, using the Healthkit platform, it enables your wearable devices to streamline their data, such as blood pressure readings, efficiently into the Health app.
It can’t be stressed enough how the ability for physicians to access patient metrics via their Electronic Medical Records is a huge deal. It makes the data actionable. Now that Apple has created a trusted repository for data ranging from pulse oximetry to blood pressure results within the Health App, companies like Epic and others are passing along this data to physicians.
Unfortunately — the patient demographics that truly need that data to be passed along to their physicians isn’t able to right now.