Apple's HealthKit powering ambitious new medical trials at Stanford, Duke

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2014
Apple's new HealthKit tools in iOS 8 are the centerpiece of two separate medical trials about to kick off at prominent U.S. hospitals, aiming to help in treatment of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.



HealthKit will power new healthcare related programs set to go into medical trials at Stanford Children's Health and Duke University, as detailed by Reuters on Monday. The pilot programs, scheduled to launch in the coming weeks, aim to "improve the accuracy and speed of reporting data," replacing legacy systems done by phone and even fax machine, the report said.

The systems would allow patients to track their trends at home, making it easier to monitor potentially vital information.

For example, if a patient has hypertension, they might be required to take blood pressure medication on a daily basis and also track their daily blood pressure measurements. This information is typically written down and brought in to their doctor upon the next visit, but Apple's HealthKit would make it possible to automate that data collection and submission.

At the Stanford trial, patients with Type 1 diabetes will be given an iPod touch to help monitor blood sugar levels. Medical device makers are also taking part in the trials, with DexCom's blood sugar monitoring equipment specifically mentioned in the report.



The DexCom device relies on a sensor inserted under the skin of a patient's abdomen, which transmits data every five minutes to handheld receiver. That receiver measures blood glucose levels, and sends the information to a mobile application that can be installed on an iPhone or iPad, tapping into the HealthKit tools found in Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system.

The report also revealed that Apple is apparently considering a "HealthKit Certification" requirement for third-party developers. This would allow the company to help ensure privacy of user data, specifically requiring that data be securely stored and not sold to advertisers.

Last month, Apple outlined restrictions for HealthKit, specifically preventing developers from selling or otherwise distributing sensitive data collected by its iOS 8 application programming interface. Apple specifically states that developers may "not sell an end-user's health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers," and are also barred from using gathered data "for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services."

Apple is believed to have ambitious plans for its new HealthKit tools, and is said to have been in talks with a number of major healthcare providers to help facilitate use of its new health-related platform. The tools currently available to developers will become accessible on tens of millions of devices this Wednesday, when iOS 8 launches for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    And so it begins ... Star Trek medical room technology is on the way folks. How long until we see a medical room with same display on the wall behind the patient as they do in the TV series?
  • Reply 2 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,974member

    These studies push past the idea of using an Apple Watch to monitor a patient's health, it includes the use of "invasive" diagnostic devices tied to a local receiver (an iTouch for cost reason's?). My father in law has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (more than just a pacemaker). I believe it includes a base station next to his bed that captures data and is able to send it to his doctor or a specialized service. This would be a perfect device to include an iOS app for, especially when used with an Apple Watch. Of course, getting my father in law to spend the money to get a real phone instead of his antiquated cheap phone is another thing but my mother in law would love to be able to monitor his arrhythmia locally instead of waiting to hear back from his doctor (and she could handle this process just fine). 

     

    I've seen doctors comment on other sites about the accuracy of the Watch sensors but in the case of implanted sensors, I could the Watch being a perfect device. My father in law had to have his defibrillator replaced because the battery ran out but why can't these device be configured with WiFi or Bluetooth charging to keep them running for many more years than a typical battery now used. Contrary to some websites, changing a pacemaker or defibrillator is not always a simple process. The less surgery the better.

  • Reply 3 of 33
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    It will be refreshing to be referred to as iGuinea-pigs rather than iSheep.

    (I have always wondered why Android fans claim to be the majority but instead they call us sheep. How the f*ck does that work?)
  • Reply 4 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    gtr wrote: »
    It will be refreshing to be referred to as iGuinea-pigs rather than iSheep.

    (I have always wondered why Android fans claim to be the majority but instead they call us sheep. How the f*ck does that work?)

    They'd be the lambs ... vast majority of them are <13
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Alot of downplay on the introduction of the watch, its just the beginning, it will be an interesting year as all of this plays out.
  • Reply 6 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    Alot of downplay on the introduction of the watch, its just the beginning, it will be an interesting year as all of this plays out.

    I agree. It will be in about three years time 'experts' will all be stating how they all 'knew' the launch in 2014 was a massive shift in the landscape. Until then they will all be unsure.
  • Reply 7 of 33

    Stanford, eh?

     

    When do we get the [email protected] client?

  • Reply 8 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    Snip...

    My father in law had to have his defibrillator replaced because the battery ran out but why can't these device be configured with WiFi or Bluetooth charging to keep them running for many more years than a typical battery now used. Contrary to some websites, changing a pacemaker or defibrillator is not always a simple process. The less surgery the better.


    Wondered about this myself after I had a cardiovario defibrillator inserted a couple of months ago and told the battery would need to be changed after perhaps 7 years. My operation in a French hospital was very good... 30 minutes with a local anaesthetic, so I was in and out in no time!

  • Reply 9 of 33

    This is what separates Apple out, the initial work before the announcements to get partners lined up (while this can also be very frustrating waiting for them all to get lined up before announcements are actually made). They tend not to just throw the tech in and leave it at that, thus NFC/ApplePay and HealthKit and other bits will almost immediately be used by a whole bunch of people, making them a success.

  • Reply 10 of 33
    rob53 wrote: »
    These studies push past the idea of using an Apple Watch to monitor a patient's health, it includes the use of "invasive" diagnostic devices tied to a local receiver (an iTouch for cost reason's?). My father in law has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (more than just a pacemaker). I believe it includes a base station next to his bed that captures data and is able to send it to his doctor or a specialized service. This would be a perfect device to include an iOS app for, especially when used with an Apple Watch. Of course, getting my father in law to spend the money to get a real phone instead of his antiquated cheap phone is another thing but my mother in law would love to be able to monitor his arrhythmia locally instead of waiting to hear back from his doctor (and she could handle this process just fine). 

    I've seen doctors comment on other sites about the accuracy of the Watch sensors but in the case of implanted sensors, I could the Watch being a perfect device. My father in law had to have his defibrillator replaced because the battery ran out but why can't these device be configured with WiFi or Bluetooth charging to keep them running for many more years than a typical battery now used. Contrary to some websites, changing a pacemaker or defibrillator is not always a simple process. The less surgery the better.

    Heat from the radio waves, just like with inductive charging, might be an issue for the skin. Also, when you charge a battery it tends to heat up. (Speculative)

    Perhaps a solution to this is doing very short charges one a month. With the size of these batteries and amount of power they use a 2 minute charge once a month might be more than enough to keep it going for a lifetime.
  • Reply 11 of 33

    Earlier this year, I mentioned to someone who is diabetic that it might be possible for him to use the upcoming iPhone to monitor his blood/sugar without having to draw blood. Reading this article lets me know that good times are coming from Apple!

     

    And, after a Sunday full of attack ads from Samsung concerning the iPhone 6/Plus, I am glad that Apple is staying focused on making HealthKit (and HomeKit, Apple Pay, Continuity, iBeacons, etc.) useful for its existing and upcoming customers!

  • Reply 12 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,974member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Fotoformat View Post

     

    Wondered about this myself after I had a cardiovario defibrillator inserted a couple of months ago and told the battery would need to be changed after perhaps 7 years. My operation in a French hospital was very good... 30 minutes with a local anaesthetic, so I was in and out in no time!


    Glad it was easy for you. My father in law is 87 and had to have extra leads inserted at the same time. He was depressed afterward and it took several weeks before he was back to full strength. Of course his doctor relented and said he could drive again after only a few days.

  • Reply 13 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,974member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Heat from the radio waves, just like with inductive charging, might be an issue for the skin. Also, when you charge a battery it tends to heat up. (Speculative)



    Perhaps a solution to this is doing very short charges one a month. With the size of these batteries and amount of power they use a 2 minute charge once a month might be more than enough to keep it going for a lifetime.

    You're probably right. He keeps the AC at 85 degrees so a little extra warmth wouldn't hurt him. :-)

     

    I don't know how much internal heat his unit gives off anyway, especially since I'm sure it runs quite often for him. Of course, he'd complain about needing to charge an iPod or Apple Watch daily so he probably wouldn't even use the products under development if they were available to him. This will continue to be the biggest problem with any HealthKit type of product from any vendor. 

  • Reply 14 of 33

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Last month, Apple outlined restrictions for HealthKit, specifically preventing developers from selling or otherwise distributing sensitive data collected by its iOS 8 application programming interface. Apple specifically states that developers may "not sell an end-user's health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers," and are also barred from using gathered data "for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services."

     

    Apple: "We are not in the business of collecting your data." (Eddie Cue, 9/9/2014)

     

    Google: [awkward fidgeting, crickets ...]

  • Reply 15 of 33
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post



    It will be refreshing to be referred to as iGuinea-pigs rather than iSheep.



    (I have always wondered why Android fans claim to be the majority but instead they call us sheep. How the f*ck does that work?)

     

    Just like anything an Apple haters says, it only makes sense when you don't actually fire any neurons to think about the statement for a second. Yeah, constantly, giddily claiming that Android has 83% (or whatever) part of the market, or that Samsung phones have X sales, and in the same breath calling anyone who buys an Apple product a "sheep" seems to serve no contradiction to them. 

  • Reply 16 of 33
    As a physician, I applaud Apple's approach here...compare and contrast to Google's glucose reading contact lenses (impractical and not in the real world...yet). The only reason Google is in this market is for the purpose of data mining.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    Jeez. Everyone else is just trying. This is orders of magnitude superior to all competition; I doubt this level of usage has even occurred to them. If it has, they no doubt realised they were stymied by their own tech in short order.

    Stunning. Just stunning. I'm gushing, and not even slightly sorry. Well done Apple. Well done.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    A distinction must be made between health and fitness monitoring. The first gen Apple Watch monitors fitness not health, although Apple has alluded to health monitoring by inference. If people confuse the two I don't think Apple will be displeased since the second gen Apple watch will likely have dedicated health monitoring capabilities and apps.
  • Reply 19 of 33

    Apple fan here and looking forward to all the new iProducts and services heading our way for Health.



    I do want to say that Samsung has for many years been in the medical field too and that can't be knocked. They produce and manufacture hospital grade Ultrasound and Radiography equipment http://www.samsung.com/global/business/healthcare/ as well as having many Samsung hospitals around Asia http://www.samsunghospital.com/global/eng/main/main.do

     

    Whatever the competition between the two companies I think focus on this area of interest from here on is going to be a massive leap forward to benefit all mankind.

  • Reply 20 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    ................My father in law has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (more than just a pacemaker). I believe it includes a base station next to his bed that captures data and is able to send it to his doctor or a specialized service. ............

     

    ........My father in law had to have his defibrillator replaced because the battery ran out but why can't these device be configured with WiFi or Bluetooth charging to keep them running for many more years than a typical battery now used. Contrary to some websites, changing a pacemaker or defibrillator is not always a simple process. The less surgery the better.


     

    rob53,

     

    I had a defibrillator implanted on March 31, 2014.   It has a WiFi built into it.  I have a monitor by my bed, which will send info, or I can have the info downloaded at my doctor's office.  The doctor only requests the info every so often, but my bedside machine checks with my defibrillator every night (3 a.m.) to check and see if there is any reason to send an alert to my cardiologist.  My defibrillator does a multitude of different things, but only a few things I have enough medical knowledge to really understand.  The battery on my defibrillator cannot be changed.  The last estimate I got from the defibrillator was that I had 11.5 years of battery life still left.  Now if it has to shock my heart, which it has never done, then that would reduce the battery life.  I may not live another 11.5 years, but if I do, I'm sure a new defibrillator will be far superior to the one I currently have.  And these things (defibs) are definitely expensive.  Looking on my insurance site, the defib was $38,000, plus another charge of $12,000 for the wiring from the defib to my heart.  Total costs: doctors, hospital, and etc was a little over a $100,000.  That is really cheap as my first 911 trip to the hospital was $161,000 (one night) when I first had my heart attack on Halloween of 2013.

     

    But coming back from a 5 percent chance that I was going to live (10-31-2013), to now I can do most anything I could do before my heart attack, is definitely a testament to modern medicine.  Drugs are another issue.  Down from 35 different drugs, to only 3 now is definitely an achievement.

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