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Apple, Google make investments in mHealth devices

Google and Apple are two major technology players that are posturing for consumers' attention in mHealth device market.

The spike in the amount of users of mHealth apps and wearable devices has contributed to the development of the consumer healthcare device market. Google and Apple recognized the growth in demand for mHealth devices and have released tools built to record, analyze and manage users' health data on their mobile devices.

Apple's HealthKit and the Google Fit platforms are examples of how seriously device makers want a stake in the mHealth market. The platforms from Apple, Google and others offer an easy way for users to gain access to summarized views of all their relevant health and fitness data. The following are some of the areas in which these systems provide the most value.

Centralizing data: Current health and wellness apps perform a wide range of functions. Most importantly, these apps are able to perform tasks beyond the capabilities of the sensors within users' mobile devices. HealthKit and Google Fit can process all of the data captured by mobile devices, as well as consolidate and centralize information from third-party wearables. In a single app, mobile users can gain a comprehensive overview of all their health data, pooled from a wide range of devices and applications.

Connectivity: During the June 2014 announcement of HealthKit, one of the benefits pitched to patients was its potential to share health information with EHRs. Apple publicized its partnership with Epic Systems Corp., a well-known hospital EHR system vendor. The ability of mHealth platforms to integrate and exchange information with EHRs may nudge physicians to "prescribe" these technologies to their patients as a way to remotely access and monitor their health.

Portability: For the most part, HealthKit and Google Fit operate in the smartphone and wearable devices realms. Connecting through these devices lets end users choose where and when they track or view the data captured by their mHealth devices. Further, the data is available in the cloud for patients to view and navigate from any device that has Internet access.

All of these expectations should be tempered because the mHealth market has had a hard time keeping consumers in their technology for an extended period. The comprehensive view of data accessible through Google Fit and HealthKit seemingly offers patients an enhanced experience. Furthermore, partnerships between hospitals and EHR vendors may also encourage the use of mHealth devices because they allow clinicians to view captured data without going through complex interfaces or integrations processes.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email
 editor@searchhealthit.com or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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This was last published in January 2015

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