Healthcare Tech Getting to Know the iOS Apple Health App

Healthcare Tech: Getting to Know the iOS Apple Health App

When the Health app and HealthKit software for developers debuted with iOS 8 in September, things started off a bit rocky. The day iOS 8 launched, Apple began to pull apps that synced with HealthKit from its App Store because it was not yet ready.[1] The problem has since been resolved. Apple released HealthKit with the iOS 8.0.2 update, and compatible apps reappeared. So how are things faring now? It all seems a little quiet in the realm of Health and HealthKit, despite the vast potential they hold for tracking and sharing health and medical information.At this time, it is difficult to say whether or not Health is a hit or miss among Apple device users, but we will run through some basic questions many have about Health.

Can you use Apple Health without other apps?

Basically, Apple Health serves as a dashboard. It collects data from your other health and fitness apps and publishes it in one, convenient place. Without connecting Apple Health to other Apple Health–compatible apps (e.g., those that work with HealthKit), all you can do without you can create a medical ID that can be accessed when your iPhone screen is locked.

You may add a photo and enter the following information:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Medical Conditions
  • Medical Notes
  • Allergies & Reactions
  • Medications
  • Emergency Contacts—you can specify your relationship to each individual and enter several
  • Blood Type
  • Organ Donor
  • Weight
  • Height

You will need to download additional apps to make data appear on your Health dashboard.

How can I use Health with my existing apps?

You may not be able to use it with your existing apps. To see if you can, go into the Health app, and click on Sources—it’s located at the bottom of your screen. Apps that are enabled to work with Health will send you a request, which will appear here. You may accept or deny them.

What devices will work with Health and HealthKit?

Recently, news broke that Fitbit, which accounts for 50 percent of the wearable band marketplace, does not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit.[2] However, HealthKit will work with apps related many Bluetooth-enabled devices, including Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone, Wahoo, Garmin, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6s, iPad Air and, eventually, the iWatch.

Electronic health records and Bluetooth-enabled health tracking devices such as blood pressure and glucose monitors are expected to integrate with HealthKit, too.[3] Mayo Clinic and the Patient IO network have already created HealthKit-enabled apps that allow consumers to share collected data with healthcare providers in their systems, as did insurer Humana. Others will likely follow suit in the name of improving care and, as a result, reducing costs.

What apps can be used with Apple Health right now?

Fortunately, more Apple Health–compatible third-party apps have started to trickle into the app store. When you go to buy an app, the description will let you know if it has Health and Healthkit capabilities.

Here are 10 popular free apps that are currently compatible with Apple Health and HealthKit:

  1. Fitnet Personal Fitness Workouts — Access more than 200 free training videos, which include yoga, strength and cardio workouts for various fitness levels, and share your workouts with Health.
  2. Health Mate — Track your daily activity and heart rate using iPhone sensors and sync Health.
  3. Lark —Track steps, fitness, sleep, calorie intake and more and sync with Health.
  4. Mayo Clinic
  5. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker — Track diet, exercise and weight, and share them with Health.
  6. Sleepio —Sync with Health to personalize your Sleepio program.
  7. Strava Running and Cycling – GPS Run and Ride Tracker —Sync workout data with your Health App.
  8. Up by Jawbone — Connect the no-Jawbone-required version to Apple Health and share step and sleep data.
  9. Wahoo Fitness — Pair with Wahoo Fitness sensors; save distance, calories and heart rate data and share it with Apple Health.
  10. WebMD — Connect the app’s Healthy Target feature with your activity tracker, wireless scale, blood pressure monitor or glucometer and sync it with the Apple Health app.
  11. Yummly Recipes & Grocery Shopping List — Sync with Health App to track meal nutrition and serving information and get improved Yummly recipe recommendations.

We will get to know some of these apps more in-depth, see how they work with Health and our wearable devices, and review them—as well as others—in the weeks ahead.

 

 

[1] Olson, Parmy. “Apple Pulls Apps After Last-Minute Delays to HealthKit.” Forbes. Sept. 17, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/09/17/apple-pulls-apps-after-last-minute-delays-to-healthkit/.

[2] Walker, Alissa. “Fitbit: We Do Not Currently Have Plans to Integrate with HealthKit.” Gizmodo. Oct. 8, 2014. http://gizmodo.com/fitbit-we-do-not-currently-have-plans-to-integrate-w-1643890288.

[3] Moukheiber, Zina. “Digital Health Companies Rush to Integrate with Apple’s HealthKit.” Forbes. Sept. 26, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/zinamoukheiber/2014/09/26/digital-health-companies-rush-to-integrate-with-apples-healthkit/.

Colleen McGuire

About Colleen McGuire

Colleen McGuire is an independent consultant who has spent most of her career writing about healthcare and the health insurance industry. For fun she blogs, travels and takes a lot of pictures along the way.

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