Apple patents may hint at future mHealth strategy

Three Apple patents related to wearable sensors deployed on an iPhone were published last week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may offer a deeper look into the vendor's mHealth strategy, reports Apple Insider.

The patents, originally filed by Apple in 2012, illustrate interconnected sensors aimed at monitoring activity, as well as features such as activity alarms and push notification capabilities. The sensors, according to Apple Insider, include location, light, proximity capabilities, as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer.

While the report notes that it's unclear whether the patent filings are tied to any specific Apple mHealth strategy in progress, the filings insight comes as Apple is delving deep into the health market.

Earlier this month, Apple announced its foray into the health industry with the debut of its HealthKit, a virtual service framework fostering data sharing between patients and medical professionals, third-party devices such as Nike's FuelBand wearables and medical institutions, beginning with a partnership with the Mayo Clinic.

"We believe Apple's HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people," Mayo President and CEO John Noseworthy said.

Within a week Apple's news ignited a flurry of feedback and concerns from healthcare experts and industry watchers regarding privacy, the sharing of confidential data and use of medical terms. For instance, Henry Feldman, chief information architect at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, noted in a blog post he's concerned about the lack of common infrastructure between healthcare apps and the ability for software to integrate on both the professional and consumer side. Yet he acknowledged Apple's move is the first sign of an actual mHealth ecosystem.

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