How will the launch of the Apple Watch change and/or improve healthcare for the patient? Will it in fact improve anybody’s health or does it just seem like a cool idea? This question runs deeper than just healthcare technology. That question can be asked of any technology. Have mobile phones made your life easier? Has the internet uncomplicated your daily life? I’m sure most would say it has done the opposite on some level, however, most continue to incorporate technology into every aspect of our lives, this author included. So will all the hoopla around the Watch, let’s take a look at some of the health apps that will be available. And see how time is changing Health Apps.
There are already a decent list of apps ready to download for patients and physicians. An app from Doximity, was just announced that is for physicians to connect to other physicians. The hope is that they ask other doctors advice to better treat the patient. It’s like crowdsourcing for healthcare.
For the consumer and patient, WebMD has just announced an app that will provide medication reminders, dosing information and safety information. It will then hand off t your iPhone for more detailed information.
Apple has its own health app already installed that will work with other apps. Apple hopes to increase the value of the new watch is by equipping it with software that can capture and track health data. So, Apple is promoting its new Health app as an easy-to-read dashboard of personal health and fitness information tied to the iPhone.
The app collects information from the user by asking questions (height, weight, etc.) and monitoring data (number of steps, heart rate, etc.) from other wireless medical devices.
And, in addition, sensors on the Apple Watch continuously collect and supply apps with real-time data on physiological functions like pulse and blood pressure. Some hospitals are hoping to use the Health app to monitor blood glucose levels in children with diabetes.
The FDA is not quick to react to new technologies – especially those that fail to achieve measurable improvements in clinical outcomes. So Apple has been limited in how it can use that data, as well as new app developers. Just collecting all that data needs a thoughtful app to interpret the data for patients. When desired results arent being reached, patients need to make rash decisions and change their course of action – with doctors guidance.
Consumers can be very fickle when the results they get on smart devices aren’t in their favor. A new report shows that a third of all consumers ditch the smart wearables within 6 months. So will a Apple Watch be able to extend this length of time and keep interest with the consumer? They will be investing more money into the watch so I imagine they will not ditch the Watch, but they might ditch the app or switch apps.
“A new report shows a third of all consumers abandon their “smart wearables” within six months.”
A long list of healthcare companies are showing off apps for the Apple Watch at the HIMSS 2015 conference this past week in Chicago.
Included are apps from HCSC, WebMD, Kaiser Permanente, Dexcom, HealthTap, Vocera and many others, enabling everything from health records for patients to medication reminders and continuous glucose monitoring on the Apple Watch. See below for a full list of healthcare apps for Apple Watch on show:
- WebMD Medication Reminders
“When users open the WebMD Apple Watch app, they’ll see their daily medication schedule and information about whether or not they’ve taken a required dose. They will also be able to read medication instructions, such as whether to take a pill with food, and access additional in-depth information on their iPhone via Handoff.”
- Every Body Walk! app from Kaiser Permanente
“The Every Body Walk! app was originally created for smartphones in 2011 to support anyone interested in tracking their activity and taking steps to make healthy behavior change. The app is simple and easy to use, making it a good fit for the Apple Watch format. Consumers can use the app to set fitness goals, track activity and view statistics at a glance through colorful and easy-to-read graphics.”
“HealthTap provides instant access to doctors on call 24/7 from anywhere right from any Apple Watch. The revolutionary HealthTap DocNow App for Apple Watch connects you immediately to a primary care doctor for a video consult, all at the tap of a button. With consults at just $2.99 per minute, affordable healthcare is now available to people who need instantaneous access to doctors.”
- Centered app from Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC)
“A holistic approach to stress management by allowing users to track their daily physical activity while providing guidance for mindful meditation exercises to help reduce stress levels and improve overall health.”
- cFHR app from Anthem and CareEvolution
“The app is designed to make it convenient and simple for consumers to receive alerts, review new medical information and manage their health care from their wrist. Consumers would be notified of suggested preventive screenings, gaps in disease management and prescription refills, and potential drug interactions – consider it a tap on the wrist reminder”
- Vocera app
“The Vocera app for Apple Watch will allow users to rapidly manage life-critical communications by viewing and responding to prioritized calls, alerts, and messages from other care team members, Electronic Health Records (EHR) and clinical systems, including critical lab values and STAT orders.”
- Dexcom Follow and Dexcom Share2
Updates to Dexcom’s two mobile apps will allow users of its Continuous Glucose Monitor System to track everything straight from Apple Watch. The apps will not only let users view their own glucose information, but also invite others– parents or caregivers for example– to monitor the data from their own Apple Watch.
“The Medisafe Apple Watch app offers customers an entirely new channel of medication management right from their wrist.”
- Apple Watch Support
- Appointment List
- New Messages
- New Chats
- Notifications for New Patient Arrivals
- Notifications for New Messages
- Notifications for New Chats
- Notifications for New Labs
- Notifications for New eRx Refills
On the Doximity Apple Watch app, doctors can send and receive messages, get notifications for faxes and manage their colleague invites.”
- Cerner HealtheLife
“Cerner’s newly-released iOS 8 HealtheLife app is designed to make it easier for patients to manage their health from Apple Watch, with push notification reminders to track health data and a display dashboard for tracked metrics.”
“Spire, a small stone-like device that measures breathing to gain insight into state of mind, delivers value to its users through real-time notifications that identify moments of tension, focus and calm. With only a glance, the Apple Watch’s notification capabilities seamlessly provides Spire users with rich feedback and guides them to greater calm and focus throughout the day.”
At the end of the day, there is a decent list of apps available for the Watch at launch. This is a list that will obviously grow and mature. Whether consumers and physicians adapt to the new screen size, only time will tell.
Apple’s Health App Video