14 hospitals piloting Apple's HealthKit platform

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More than a dozen leading U.S. hospitals are piloting Apple's HealthKit platform to track patient care and reduce operating costs, according to a Reuters report.

Of 23 hospitals contacted by Reuters, 14 are conducting a HealthKit pilot, including New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System. Eight of those hospitals are listed the U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll, according Reuters. On the software side, Reuters claims Apple has more than 600 developers integrating HealthKit into health and fitness apps.

HealthKit, as FierceMobileHeathcare has reported, debuted last June and is a virtual service framework fostering data sharing between patients and medical professionals, third-party devices and medical institutions. Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy has called it a revolutionary technology that will change patient-physician-provider interaction.

While Apple's initial HealthKit partnership was with the Mayo Clinic, several major health systems have since been jumped on the bandwagon. Ochsner, for instance, was the first Epic Systems client to integrate its electronic health record system with the Apple HealthKit platform. Other early pilot participants include Stanford University Hospital and Duke University. 

In December, Ochsner presented some of its findings to the American Heart Association about how HealthKit helps track data from heart failure patients. Ochsner officials showed that the pilot program resulted in a 44 percent drop in readmissions and a higher level of patient activation once they enrolled in the program.

Reuters' report comes as Apple puts the final touches on its first mHealth wearable, Apple Watch, which is due to arrive in March. The device, announced last September, will boast gyroscopes, several sensors and an accelerometer for heartbeat and pulse rate monitoring.

Apple, along with powerhouse tech players Google and Samsung, is vying to grab a big chunk of the emerging lucrative mHealth market as consumers show increasing interest in mHealth devices and apps.

While Apple may be in the lead in terms of getting its services adopted by health systems, Samsung was first to debut its open Simband platform last May. That initiative followed a partnership the prior fall as Samsung and health insurer Cigna signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop health and wellness related features built into Samsung's S Health platform. Samsung, according to Reuters, is collaborating with Massachusetts General Hospital on mHealth initiatives, as well as the University of California's San Francisco Medical Center.

Google's Android-based mHealth platform Fit, announced last June, also is garnering greater attention, with several hospitals enthusiastic about piloting the technology, according to Reuters. Google's Fit will aggregate data from fitness-tracking devices and health-related apps. Google's strengths lie within its portfolio of technologies and the sheer pervasiveness of its platforms, health attorney Brad Thompson recently told FierceMobileHealthcare via email.

For more information:
- read the Reuters report

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