Apple in Health

Apple in Health

Two weeks ago there was an article about Apple hiring biomedical engineers for the purpose of developing noninvasive glucose sensor that would be integrated into Apple Watch. That sounds like great news, according to recent data around 415 million people suffer from a type of diabetes, thats more than population of USA and Canada combined. As an iOS developer in 5 years I never had to develop an app what could fall into a health category, so, on the enthusiasm from reading this article I started to wonder how far actually did Apple came in this betterment of our wellbeing. From 2014. Apple released a health related framework every year: HealthKit, ResearchKit and last year CareKit.

HealthKit and its app Health is in a way a hub for aggregation of data collected from other apps and devices hardware. It covers four major areas: Activity, Mindfulness, Sleep and Nutrition. Activity can be tracked by phones hardware and sleep can make something out of the data you put into Bedtime part of the alarm app, but all areas have other apps that conform to HealthKit and all their combined data is shown in the native Health app. Apparent issue with this is explicitness of input. You have to tell how long you will sleep, you have to tell what was for the meal, it feels like this process isn’t quite there.

ResearchKit is framework oriented to medical institutions to conduct research/clinical trials. Building apps with this SDK allows researchers to include people, with their consent of course, into their studies. Aspects this kit covers are surveys and active tasks. Surveys might not be that impressive because people answer from their subjective perspective and feeling, but active tasks really shine. If you define task in the dimension of time (before you take medication, after nights sleep, etc.), you finish that task on the device, compatible device accessories or even a specific proprietary instrument with unbiased precision and gather collective data for further research. Turning potentially every person with mobile phone into a trialist could exponentially accelerate medical findings in near future.

CareKit main goal is to help people who already have medical condition, whether its temporary (recovery from surgery or other kind of treatment) or permanent (eg. chronic conditions). It keeps you on track with your medication and therapeutic exercise, overall progress of your state. You can include people and inform them of your current wellbeing. App that can send notifications to close people when epileptic seizure is about to happen is equivalent of a dog capable of driving a space ship.

With more sensors in our wearables, clothing, cooking appliances, new frameworks that could gather data from every compatible source, interconnectivity among them could in next decade launch services that could deliver food, medication, physical and mental training, customised for individual needs. With this great Apple glucose sensor appetiser I still feel hungry, impatiently waiting for that great breakthrough that would cement our connection between personal wellbeing and technology.