Health apps are nothing new. But Apple is putting a new twist on the idea with CareKit – a set of apps designed to help people better manage their health.
Apple is edging its way a little further into health care with the release of new iPhone apps that patients can use to manage their own medical conditions — from diabetes to pregnancy and even depression.
While there are hundreds of health-related apps on the market, Apple wants to put its stamp on a new ecosystem of treatment programs. Rather than build the apps itself, the tech giant developed a set of software tools and templates, called “CareKit,” that health-care groups and health-tech startups can use to create their own programs.
According to CNET.com, “CareKit is a new toolkit that enables developers to build apps that help users to actively manage their medical conditions, rather than just monitoring them. The goal is for patients to better understand changes in their health and share that information with their doctors.”
- One Drop for people managing diabetes;
- Start for people managing depression; and two apps aimed at women
- Glow Nurture, a pregnancy tracker; and
- Glow Baby, an early childhood monitor.
“These mobile tools can help people reach their health goals,” said Thomas Goetz of Iodine, a startup that used CareKit in the latest version of its Start app. Along with providing information about side-effects to depression medications, the app asks patients to record their symptoms and answer standardized questions to track how they’re doing. Start uses a CareKit feature that lets patients send reports to their doctors; eventually, Goetz said, doctors will be able to respond by adjusting their instructions for medication, diet or exercise.
Not everyone is a believer that this technology is going to work. A story in spectrum.ieee.org says, “While a third of U.S. physicians say they have recommended an app to patients, most are wary of fully integrating them into their medical practices. They’re not sure how to choose an app that really works and worry about how much time it will take busy staff to learn and coordinate app-based care.”
“For all the enthusiasm, we don’t want to overhype where things are,” says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “There are still legitimate concerns by physicians about the evidence for which apps are good.”
What do you think about the role apps may play in our health moving forward? Do you believe they can be a game changer or do you think the reality won’t match the hype? Lastly, do you think technology will play a major role (or any role at all!) in our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!