Thursday, August 14, 2014

Apple’s Upcoming Plans for HealthKit

It was reported that Apple had held talks regarding its plans for HealthKit and the upcoming services, with several companies which include the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai, and Johns Hopkins together with the medical records providers Allscripts and Epic Systems.It was revealed by Apple that the HealhKit would be a framework that would be available to third parties for aggregation of data and for storage and would subsequently be available through a corresponding app known as `Health’, hoping that the HealthKit could serve as central hub for information obtained from third-party medical apps and hardware.

 Apple has already started working with the Mayo Clinic, Nike and Epic and it seems that other industry players are also keen in tying up their services as well, with the iOS based platform. According to sources, Apple is trying to keep away from regulatory hold ups since with the partnerships, the responsibility of keeping highly sensitive medical records and data private is very essential.

 For instance, Apple’s developer relations branch has been working with app makers such as iHealth Labs, who is the developer of specialized activity trackers as well as fitness related apps. Jim Taschetta, iHealth’s Chief Marketing officer indicates that consumer privacy issues are paramount to the HealthKit initiative.

Incorporate iCloud for Data Storage

He also offers examples of toggle which enables users to choose if they would prefer third party apps or healthcare providers to share sensitive data with HealthKit. From the technical side of Health, an Apple associate stated that the company has plans to incorporate iCloud for the purpose of data storage and informed Reuters that the data transfer and storage would be fully encrypted to Apple’s server.

Moreover, the backend of HealthKit would be designed in a way that providers would be responsible for patient’s privacy and not Apple. Apple has been in consultation or hired health experts as well as legal professionals to navigate the data privacy and regulatory policies outlined by the government agencies, in order to bring the HealthKit to the market.

The Food and Drug Administration – FDA, revealed that in June, it had discussions on mobile medical application with Apple over several meetings but details with regards to the upcoming rollout was not yet disclosed.

FDA to Work Closely with Apple

The FDA has stated that Apple will be working closely with them as they develop products in the future. They have further stated that the earlier FDA is involved and advising and Apple would be less likely to be caught by surprise in future when they intend to release a new product, and if that product must be regulated.

It was also reported, earlier this year that Apple executive were planning to meet with the FDA over same issues. HealthKit, with its robust data sharing as well as collection capabilities would be moving into uncharted water for massive distributed consumer solution and as such its launch may come across some complications with existing privacy laws and Apple on their part are preparing to work hard in order to prevent these types of incidents.

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