Apple to add glucose tracking back into Health

By Aditi Pai
Share

Qardio healthkitApple's newest software update, iOS 8.2, will bring back HealthKit's blood glucose tracking feature, according to a report from 9to5mac.

The feature was removed from Health in October because the app only offered one unit of measurement for blood glucose, mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), even though many countries use another measure, mmol/L (millimoles per liter).

“If you measure your blood glucose using a device that displays mmol/L, those values can’t be manually entered or displayed in the Health app with that unit of measurement,” Apple wrote in its support forum at the time. “To prevent confusion in countries where mmol/L is commonly used, we’ll soon release a software update that will temporarily remove the ability to manually enter and view blood glucose values in the Health app while we work on an update to support both units of measurement.”

In the newest update, Health has also added descriptions for health metrics tracked in the app. For example, under blood glucose, the app writes: "Glucose -- also called blood sugar -- is the main sugar found in the blood and the main source of energy for your body."

This wasn't Apple's first mistake relating to blood glucose. In June, during Apple's developer's conference keynote, the company displayed a slide with the wrong measurement units for blood glucose monitoring. The slide 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.

But, despite all the stumbles Apple has had with blood glucose tracking, many doctors still have confidence in the company's ability to track health metrics. At the mHealth Summit this month, Duke’s Dr. Ricky Bloomfield said Apple's quick response to the goof was actually heartening.

“There were problems,” he said. “But they’re committed to fix it and to make sure patients stay safe in the process. There will be problems, because human beings wrote this code and they’re not perfect. We have to be careful, which is why we’re rolling this out in phases as part of a pilot program. Because we want to make sure this stuff works before we’re saying all of our millions of patients are going to be using this.”