Apple to turn iPhone into hub of medical info

Apple to turn iPhone into hub of medical info


Apple is working on making that scenario a reality.

CNBC reports that it has learned Apple has a team that is now in talks with developers, hospitals, and otehr industry groups to bring clinical data including detailed lab results and allergy lists to the iPhone.

The company has already acquired personal health data startup Gliimpse, which has a secure platform for consumers to manage and share their own medical records. The report cites nearly half-dozen people familiar with the team, and adds that the company is also looking at startups in the "cloud hosting space".

So far, Apple has only focused on providing fitness and wellness. iOS devices come with HealthKit which store information like steps walked and hours slept. If Apple's efforts show the desired results, both the medical community and users would have reasons to cheer. Those who're suffering from one or more ailments find it very hard to maintain their medical data in papers and provide them to their doctors even in this digital age. The information stays in the form of PDF files in emails or is delivered by fax. Most patients that resort to it say user experience is poor, not forgetting that the information is limited.

This problem is often referred to as the "interoperability crisis" - and it is hurting patients, health experts have said. That's the lack of data-sharing between health providers that could lead to unnecessary mistakes and missed diagnoses that could be fatal for some patients.

In the recent months, Apple has been in conversations with health IT industry groups that can help them achieve their goals. CNBC also reports that Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology and a trained physician, is working closely on the project.

The Cupertino giant has been in the works to hire developers who are familiar with protocols dictating the transfer of electronic health records. Some third-parties can sometimes see medical data from the NHS database, but that's usually reserved for special cases such as applying for Critical Illness insurance.

"At any given time, only about 10 to 15 per cent of patients care about this stuff", said Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of the MA eHealth Collaborative and a health IT expert.

This kind of tech always brings up the question of privacy when it comes to medical data.

Apple also has other edges.

The report doesn't mention Apple Watch, but presumably Apple's wearable would play a major role in the new initiative.

More recently, Apple recruited Sumbul Desai, MD, from Stanford, where she has been involved in several successful digital projects. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an "outperform" rating and set a $170.00 price objective (up from $160.00) on shares of Apple in a research report on Wednesday, May 17th.

  • Terrell Bush