Apple is meeting with healthcare providers, as well as an electronic health records vendor, as part of its strategy to establish its HealthKit system as a healthcare data hub, according to a Reuters report. The tech titan is meeting with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Cleveland Clinic and EHR vendor Allscripts.
According to Reuters, 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. Kaiser Permanente reportedly is piloting a number of mobile apps that leverage HealthKit, according to Reuters.
In addition to Epic, Apple also already is working with Nike Inc., and the Mayo Clinic.
"Apple is going into this space with a data play," Forrester Research healthcare analyst Skip Snow told Reuters. "They want to be a hub of health data."
HealthKit is a virtual service framework that fosters data sharing between providers, patients and third-party devices, such as wearables, and medical institutions. The HealthKit is part of Apple's iOS8 SDK, the latest developer OS for its iPads and iPhones. Applications developed through HealthKit will be able to share data with other apps for more in-depth health management.
A big challenge for any care provider is data security and consumer privacy protection, which likely are part of Apple's discussions with vendors and hospitals. As FierceMobileHealthcare reported Apple met with Food and Drug Administration officials in late 2013 regarding the federal agency's mobile medical application guidance. Much of Apple's conversation focused on how the FDA would hypothetically regulate efforts, such as glucometers.
Last month, Apple and IBM announced a global strategic partnership to transform business using mobile technology. A big chunk of strategy is aimed at the mobile healthcare segment. Apple's iOS may play a role in a joint bid by IBM and Epic to develop a new EHR system for the Department of Defense; earlier this week, consulting firm Impact Advisors announced it was joining that effort, as well.