Stanford, Duke to pilot Apple HealthKit

A pair of university-related hospitals plan to put Apple's HealthKit offering to the test with a focus on improving patient care through streamlined processes.

Both Stanford University Hospital and Duke University will pilot the platform, officially unveiled last week, Reuters reports. At Stanford, the emphasis will be on tracking blood sugar levels for pediatric diabetes patients, while at Duke, doctors will track vitals such as blood pressure and weight for patients suffering from heart disease or cancer.

For the former, in particular, patients with Type 1 diabetes will be given an iPod touch to monitor their levels away from the doctor's office, according to Reuters. Two patients already have been selected to participate, with plans to include additional patients, ranging in age from infants to teenagers.

"This could eliminate the hassle of getting data from patients, who want to give it to us," Ricky Bloomfield, an internal medicine pediatrician and director of mobile strategy at Duke, told Reuters. "HealthKit removes some of the error from patients' manually entering their data."

Apple already has plans to work with Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, although to what capacity remains to be seen. It also has been reported that Apple has met with other hospitals as part of its strategy to establish HealthKit as a healthcare data hub, including Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Cleveland Clinic. Apple reportedly also has met with electronic health record vendor Allscripts, and has plans to work with another EHR vendor, Epic.

Clinicians and hospital CIOs who recently spoke to FierceHealthIT have expressed a tempered optimism about HealthKit. For instance, Roger Neal, vice president and CIO at Duncan (Oklahoma) Regional Hospital, said that while as a self-proclaimed tech geek he's intrigued, he believes back-end systems at hospitals will have to evolve to ultimately handle all of the new incoming data streams.

To learn more:
- here's the Reuters article