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Apple's HealthKit is available but some doctors remain skeptical

Ryan Faas | Oct. 3, 2014
After a bungled release of iOS 8.0.1, Apple finally managed to get HealthKit into the hands of iPhone owners. I've been pretty open about the ways that I think technologies like fitness trackers and HealthKit can change lives (and for anyone interested in keeping score, my Fitbit-related weight loss is now up to 42 pounds) and, having worked in healthcare IT, I think there is an immense amount of potential in these technologies.

None of these concerns was universal among the healthcare workers I spoke with. The concerns about workload seemed to vary significantly. I suspect that's because some healthcare organizations managed the adoption and rollout of electronic records earlier and more effectively than others.

Apple has been working with the biggest electronic records vendors in the all of North America. Epic, which Apple highlighted while introducing HealthKit in June, claims it cover more than a million individuals alone — and Epic was one of the first companies that Apple identified as a healthcare partner, saying that its MyChart app that gives patients access to their medical records in an iPhone app will support HealthKit at launch.

That's great news. But just because a vendor offers a feature, no matter how great or how small, there's no guarantee that every — or any — organization that buys solutions from that vendor will implement it. Even if they do, there's no guarantee how long it will take for their internal review and testing process to be completed prior to rollout.

Apple's drive to disrupt healthcare may get off to an uneven start. Some organizations and healthcare providers will likely implement support for HealthKit quickly and encourage patients to make use of it. Others are likely to hold back even if HealthKit is a viable option for them right out of the gate.


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