Apple is currently rolling out its HealthKit service, with 14 of the top 23 hospitals polled in the US stating that they are already in the first stages of pilot programs built on the solution. Reuters noted that while Apple is ahead of Samsung and Google in reaching out to hospitals and deploying its health services, hospitals were also eager to try out Google Fit. According to the Reuters report:
Apple has recruited informal industry advisors, including Rana and John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, to discuss health data privacy and for introductions to the industry. The company said it had an "incredible team" of experts in health and fitness and was talking to medical institutions, healthcare and industry experts on ways to deliver its services.
The HealthKit service acts as a repository for patient-generated health information, including blood pressure, weight and heart rate. This data can be collected by the user of Apple hardware and then tapped into by a doctor for immediate analysis. With the launch of the Apple Watch just around the corner, it will become increasingly more convenient for consumers.
Such systems hold the promise of allowing doctors to watch for early signs of trouble and intervene before a medical problem becomes acute. That could help hospitals avoid repeat admissions, for which they are penalized under new U.S. government guidelines, all at a relatively low cost.
It's worth noting that this is merely the test bed for the new solutions to be deployed in hospitals. There's a long road to travel down yet before we see said solutions really make a difference in healthcare. For now, Apple appears to have the lead and experts believe there will be a time when a standard will need to be adopted for data to be collected from all services.