Posted by:Richard Smith June 20th, 2014

A few weeks ago Apple announced the HealthKit framework as part of iOS 8. Now Google is rumored to be entering that market next week with an announcement of Google Fit at its Google I/O developers conference next week. Google’s experience in the healthcare market is a clue about what patients (customers!) want from all the healthcare data they generate.

In 2012, they shut down Google Health, a web service that allowed people to aggregate and store their healthcare data. Not enough people saw the value in making the effort to retrieve their data from somewhere and store it in Google Health. After it was there, then what? Not much.

That was then. Now what is different? We have all those wearable fitness devices generating data. At some point, tools like Google Fit, Apple’s HealthKit, etc. will allow consumers to go to one mobile app to access useful health and fitness information from multiple sources. But how many people have more than one device? What do these tools provide the user that they can’t get from the maker of the device they are using?

These frameworks are tools for developers, not apps for consumers. The consumer would need an app to be developed to get anything out of the frameworks. Even then, the consumer needs the input of a healthcare provider to turn this data into action that can improve their health and well being.

A big incentive exists for healthcare providers to fill this gap. Under new healthcare regulations, their reimbursement for services will be based on outcomes, not time spent. They can utilize these frameworks to support interactions with patients that can reduce emergency room visits and re-admissions, manage chronic conditions and rehabilitation, and improve patient satisfaction.

Until the providers get moving to exploit these tools, Google Fit, Apple HealthKit, etc. are only going to be platforms for advertisers looking to push ads according to whatever activity you choose to make visible.

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How excited are you as a consumer on these frameworks? How would you like see the apps for wearables shaping up?

Curious to know how mobile apps have helped patient engagement?

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