New app turns HealthKit into a communications tool

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund

An Israeli company is tapping into the Apple HealthKit platform to create an emergency app for people with chronic conditions.

Targeted primarily at diabetics, the Alert app pulls real-time blood glucose data from HealthKit and issues a notification when the user's blood glucose level falls above or below predefined limits. The app also sends a notice to as many as three designated care team members – such as family members, friends, school officials or healthcare providers – and initiates a conference call with them within minutes.

Alert is the second app developed by HelpAround, launched in 2013 by Israeli Army R&D veterans Yishai Knobel (who'd developed the iBGStar diabetes management app now licensed by Sanofi and later developed diabetes mHealth technology for AgaMatrix) and Shlomi Aflalo. It follows on the heels of the Diabetes Helpers app, which enables the user to locate people in the immediate area who could offer assistance during a diabetic episode.

“With Diabetes Helpers, we saw thousands of strangers stepping up to help each other, but we also learned how much fear our users cope with,” Knobel, also the company's CEO, said in a press release. “We recognized that in times of trouble it is imperative for anyone to be able to easily reach the most trusted people in their lives.”

Knobel and Aflalo pointed out that the Alert app can be used by anyone with a chronic condition or even a potentially serious allergy, who could suffer debilitating injuries once that condition is exacerbated. The app is triggered by either shaking the smartphone or tapping a single red button, which triggers the text massage to care team members in five seconds unless the user stops the process.

HelpAround joins a growing number of mHealth companies looking to connect those with chronic diseases and their healthcare providers through mobile management tools, most often via a smartphone or wearable device. It's one of the first to take advantage of HealthKit to create a real-time communications platform that's triggered by biometric data.

See also:

CDS tool maker for diabetes docs seeks FDA approval

The FDA's role in telemedicine is still a moving target

How Mt. Sinai taps HealthKit to manage COPD patients, populations