Why Google could emerge as the leader in mHealth: It's all about the data

In the past month, the top players in the smartphone industry have made big moves into the mHealth device market. Apple debuted its HealthKit, which will foster data sharing across mHealth applications as well as healthcare institutions. Samsung announced a digital health initiative using open hardware and software platforms for mHealth technology advancement and innovation. And Google, whose Glass computing eyewear is already being used in healthcare setting, has been described as potentially being the "best positioned of the three to build a consumer friendly data management platform."

Yet the same industry watcher who made that statement also believes Google won't emerge the leader in the mHealth wearables marketplace.

Why? The main reason is that unlike Apple, which boasts the iPhone, and Samsung, which boasts the Galaxy, Google has yet to deliver a compelling smartphone device.

Still, I'm not too sure that's a fair reason to dismiss Google. For one thing, the smartphone industry isn't anything like the emerging mHealth wearables device industry.

After all, Google is taking the same path as Apple and Samsung, crafting its own Android Wear product line with a proprietary OS. Earlier this month FierceMobileHealthcare shared a Forbes report that Google plans to launch a health platform called Google Fit that will aggregate data from fitness-tracking devices and health-related apps. The platform likely will be a direct competitor to Apple's HealthKit and Samsung's SAMI platforms.

Second, the search giant also boasts as much investment capability as both Samsung and Apple for research and development, as well as bandwidth for innovation.

Third, it was way back in March that Google provided a sneak peek at its upcoming wearables strategy, which will kick off with smart watches and promises to go "well beyond" fitness insight with an "expansive catalogue of apps." Sundar Pichai, senior Google VP for Android, Chrome and apps, stated that devices will provide information pulled in from messaging apps and Google notification services.

And right there, in that small nugget of insight, lies evidence of why Google may, in fact, emerge as the mHealth titan.

Healthcare is all about data. It's about collecting the right data, parsing out relevant insight and funneling it to all the parties involved in the healthcare process.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, having such tech powerhouse players move into the mHealth sector is a very good thing as they're all innovative in product development, smart about consumer needs in verticals and well aware of regulatory challenges, privacy concerns and security mandates.

And Google, above everyone else, knows about data. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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