In a move that propels mobile health apps and fitness trackers from a mostly amateurish realm into the formal health care setting, Apple AAPL +1.06% announced that it is working with Mayo Clinic to integrate medical information via its platform HealthKit, a part of its new operating system iOS 8 for iPhones and iPads. Apple will consolidate heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and other data from disparate apps and devices, including Nike. “The collaboration allows us to use HealthKit to reach out to patients in unique ways to provide affordable and quality care,” says John Wald, Mayo Clinic Medical Director for Marketing and Public Affairs.
Banking on its global brand, Mayo plans to launch an app in September that will allow consumers around the world to connect with the famed hospital system through HealthKit, and receive guidance on their health. For example, a person monitoring blood pressure will get evidence-based recommendations on what steps to take to keep blood pressure within normal range. Although Mayo is still testing scenarios, steps could also include putting a patient in touch with a Mayo nurse. “The Mayo clinic will foster long term relationship with patients, allowing them to come to Mayo if needed, or advise them on how to treat themselves locally,” says Wald.
More groundbreaking, patients who already use Mayo facilities will have their tracking information integrated into the hospital system’s electronic health record, which will allow wearables to reach their full potential. Mayo now uses a combination of EHRs, but plans to replace the current set-up. (Epic is rumored to be the replacement).
In another first, Epic Systems is also collaborating with Apple to integrate HealthKit within its electronic health record—a move with significant impact. Epic is the dominant electronic health record.