Apple's HealthKit platform continues to hold promise, but challenges remain

Apple's well-received HealthKit, an open source healthcare data collection and sharing platform, holds promise but formidable challenges must be hurdled if the system is to attain its full potential.

New research investigating HealthKit participants' use, impact on chronic health conditions and telemonitoring capabilities, finds that nearly half of registrants have conditions that could benefit from telehealth, but barriers stand in the way, according to an article published at Telemedicine and e-health

"The Apple HealthKit telemonitoring platform offers advantages over current hub-and-server technology for a segment of the primary care population," according to the report. "Although this easily accessible telemonitoring platform has distinct advantages in terms of wide spread dissemination, as well as a population with conditions amenable to telemonitoring, there remain interoperability and data governance issues, reimbursement barriers and provider concerns about the potential for large amounts of unfiltered telemonitoring data."

The study also lists lack of reimbursement for telemonitoring as a barrier, as well as restrictive regional quality measures.

However, since its debut in June 2104, Apple's HealthKit has been heralded as a game changer. Within six months more than a dozen leading U.S. hospitals began piloting apps on the platform to track patient care and reduce operating costs; Ochsner Health System was the first to integrate its Epic Systems client with the platform that year.

The new study notes HealthKit's additional advantages, such as replacing the typical expensive telemonitoring infrastructure of a hub and server, free automatic software updates and comfortable of use of devices and apps for patients.

"Use of their own familiar devices can maximize patient uptake and engagement, while reducing the telemonitoring cost for the healthcare institution. Finally, for primary care providers whose patients now send them highly unstructured telemonitoring data by secure message, a change to structured data from HealthKit could improve care," according to the authors.

For more information:
- read the research article

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