Lifestyle

Health is a magic word: why ignoring the Apple is getting harder.

Speed + Connectivity = Serendipity

More than connectivity, we live in an era that continually beckons for faster results. While some may cherish the anticipation of waiting or even find it romantic (read: snail mail), for most purposes ‘insta’ is still the order of the day, if not yesterday. And it makes sense.

Being able to send and receive messages almost instantly simply increases efficiency and in some cases, saves lives.

What if you could detect an on-coming stroke before taking another fatal cholesterol-laden bite; or sense your heart pumping way too fast before taking another step? What if ambulances could be dispatched even before emergency calls were made?

Apple’s “Health” seems to propose just that. Recently launched at its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco, the app actually does more than merely monitor vital health information such as blood pressure and heart rates. It sends this information on the fly to where it needs to go – the doctor (with your permission of course).

Image credit: BGR
Image credit: BGR

Sharing data like your abysmal metabolic rate or the amount of fat in your body does not have to be embarrassing if it had a purpose. In this case, probably two. Apart from potentially savin g lives, the app grants users a more heightened awareness of their health condition and the opportunity to address it for the better immediately. This is made possible by being able to call up vital health information in an easy-to-read dashboard.

Image credit: Shelly Palmer
Image credit: Shelly Palmer

Of course as with most other things in life, how much you get out depends on how much you put in and Health is no exception. Accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data available depends on what is being tracked and fed into the app. The success of such real-time health monitoring via wearable technology remains to be seen; even as one study has showed that a significant portion of consumers who purchase activity-tracking devices actually stop using them after some time.

Also read: Why You Stopped Using Your Fitness Tracker

With Health, users can also create an emergency card summarising important medical conditions, allergies, and even current medications all accessible from the lock screen, doing away with the need for bulky allergy cards. Checking for a patient’s iPhone may soon very well become standard procedure for paramedics in the future.

While there already are a plethora of apps out there that monitor such information (Fitbit, Nike Band), this is actually a plus point in “Health”. The app’s strength lies in its ability to draw from various third party apps on the market and collate the data sourced into something meaningful. Using its developer tool named ‘Health Kit’, it can recognize sixty different types of data from glucose levels and burned calories to sleep patterns and blood types. Developers of health apps merely have to integrate Health Kit into their apps to feed into the Health app. Just going by the options and possibilites mirrored in Apple’s promotional video ‘Strength’, this app may be more powerful than we think.

Image credit: greatist
Image credit: Greatist

Health Kit even clears up possible confusions arising from having multiple apps by ingeniously converting measurement units between systems. For some, this could mean less time spent on Google search and more time on the treadmill.

As with most Silicon Valley offerings, consumers in the United States seem poised to benefit the most at the moment. Apple is linking up with Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems, two health big data giants that maintain patient health records. This provides for a seamless continuity of care inside and out of the hospital.

For the rest of us, we may just still have to wait for the ambulance.

Also read: Samsung Simband aims to take a big step in wearable health

 

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