Apple's glucose goof and more on HealthKit

By Brian Dolan
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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsWhere are the HealthKit skeptics? Apple didn't provide a whole lot of meat during its three-minute introduction to its health data aggregation platform, HealthKit, and its consumer-facing companion app, Health. Still, I would have expected more skeptics to come out with a better case against HealthKit's prospects. So far they have mostly just been the expected but weak comparisons to untethered PHRs like Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault -- largely on the grounds that a big name tech company is behind it.

The other lukewarm criticism of HealthKit is that some media outlets referred to it as "revolutionary" for healthcare, which is, of course, an all-too-common term in hyped up tech announcements. That said, during its presentation onstage, Apple quoted Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John H. Noseworthy as saying that "HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people". That's a fairly specific kind of revolution -- focused on making use of patient-generated data. It's also coming from the CEO of the Mayo Clinic.

I'm sure there will be plenty of substantial cases to be made against HealthKit once it launches later this year, but until then the thin announcement is only producing unsophisticated blowback.

Apple's (or was it Epic's?) glucose goof: Rock Health published a blog post reaction to HealthKit written by the sharp-eyed Aaron Rowe, research director at Integrated Plasmonics, who noticed that one of the slides Apple presented during the event had the wrong measurement units for blood glucose monitoring. The slide (pictured at the bottom of this post) listed them as mL/dL, while the correct units are mg/dL. The error was actually part of a screenshot of Epic's MyChart app so it may have been Epic's mistake, but it was part of an Apple executive's presentation. For a company long known for its attention to detail, not a great indicator for how deep Apple's medical bench is.

Apple's fitness commercial: Yesterday Apple posted a new commercial for its iPhone5s called Strength, which shows people using various fitness and sports devices as well as health tracking apps. It makes no mention of HealthKit, but it certainly helps spread awareness that these devices are in the market. Devices and apps shown in the ad spot include: Misfit Shine, Wahoo Fitness, Nike+ Running, Adidas miCoach, SprintTimer, and Withings' Health Mate.

Apple vs. Samsung: There will be much more to dig into once Apple's HealthKit is fully launched and Samsung's SAMI platform's details are more fully fleshed out, but there is at least one notable difference between these two major announcements. Apple is making a concerted effort to bring health tracking data into patient-provider consultations. Samsung presented a platform and device that might have considerable value if used by certain patients and providers, but Samsung didn't offer up ideas for how to connect those two groups. It was much more focused on wellness and fitness than healthcare.

Apple Glucose Goof