Analyst: Apple's financial impact on mHealth worth billions

Apple's foray into mHealth, given its reported upcoming iWatch device, its moves into electronic health record technology and the development of its HealthKit platform, will have a dramatic impact on healthcare and advance mHealth like few other initiatives, according to a report at Product Design & Development.

"GlobalData believes that Apple's strategy to unite medical applications, electronic health records and peripheral devices through a platform, reported to be the HealthKit, will be a major milestone in the wave of technology-healthcare alliances," Linda Tian, GlobalData's analyst covering medical devices, says, according to PP&D.

It'll also prove to be quite lucrative for the tech titan. The analyst firm expects the mHealth market to enjoy an annual growth rate of 31.5 percent in the next four years, from $3 billion in 2013 to $11.8 billion by 2018.

"In addition, Apple's timely market penetration and established consumer engagement strategies will potentially enable the company to set the industry standards for future developments, similar to how it revolutionized the smartphone space," Tian says, accordign to PP&D.

Such a prediction isn't surprising, as Apple has already delved deep into mHealth--its iPhone and apps are used for a wide range of new diagnostic and monitoring tools, from diabetic blood testing to jaundice diagnosis in infants. The analyst forecast comes on the heels of Apple's official invite to its upcoming product event on Sept. 9, and a possible iWatch product debut. The device, however, likely won't hit shelves until early 2015, states a Re/code report.

Apple has been busy this year talking with federal regulators on mHealth issues from security to privacy and partnering with healthcare organizations, the latest being Humana and United Health, the top U.S. insurance company, according to a Bloomberg report. Apple has already met with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Cleveland Clinic and EHR vendor Allscripts in relation to its HealthKit system serving as a healthcare data hub.

HealthKit is a virtual service framework that fosters data sharing between providers, patients and third-party devices. As a Reuters report noted, several major health systems using EHR vendor Epic's software aim to integrate health and fitness data from HealthKit into Epic's MyChart personal health record. Apple also already is working with Nike Inc. and the Mayo Clinic and in July Apple and IBM announced a global strategic partnership to transform business using mobile technology. 

To learn more:
- read the Product Design & Development article
- read the Re/code report on iWatch

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