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How Doctors, Patients Will Use Apple’s HealthKit in Medical Trials

HealthKitBy Alan Lyndon

Apple’s plan to move into the healthcare market became a little clearer today.  Reuters reported that Stanford and Duke will host medical trials using HealthKit, which Apple describes as the “beginning of a health revolution” that brings together health and fitness data that can be shared with doctors for more efficient managed care.

The trial at Stanford University Hospital will focus on children with diabetes.  Patients with Type I, or juvenile, diabetes will receive an iPod Touch to take home and monitor their blood sugar levels.  Duke University will conduct a trial to measure blood pressure, weight and other vital signs of cancer and heart disease patients.

The potential of HealthKit also extends to medical device manufacturers.  DexCom Inc., makers of blood sugar monitoring equipment, is talking to Apple and Sanford about how it might participate in the trials. DexCom makes a tiny sensor that can be implanted under the skin, measure blood sugar and transmit the data to an app on the iPhone. That data can then be viewed by the physician through an EMR.

While the potential for Apple’s healthcare success is great, patients may be hesitant to have their medical information available for hacking.  So Apple is creating a “HealthKit Certification” for developers of medical apps that will include “conditions stipulating how data must be stored securely on devices,” according to Reuters.

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