Duke and Stanford Begin Patient Trials With Apple's HealthKit Service

healthkit-logoDuke University, Stanford University Hospital, and medical device manufacturers are working with Apple on patient trials involving Apple's new HealthKit API, reports Reuters. Apple mentioned the trials in its recent September press event, but did not provide any details on the health parameters or patient groups being studied.

Speaking to Reuters, Duke University's Ricky Bloomfield, internal medicine pediatrician and director of mobile strategy, confirmed the research institution will use HealthKit to track vital health parameters such as blood pressure and weight for patients with cancer or heart disease. iOS 8's HealthKit API will gather this health-related information from a variety of sources and compile it so patients and doctors can easily view this information in one place.
"This could eliminate the hassle of getting data from patients, who want to give it to us," said Bloomfield, "HealthKit removes some of the error from patients' manually entering their data."
Stanford Children's Chief Medical Information Officer Christopher Longhurst confirmed that the research hospital will be monitoring Type 1 diabetes patients, who will be sent home with an iPod touch and instructed to enter blood sugar levels in between doctor visits. Two patients already are enrolled in the trial.

Besides doctors, medical device makers are interested in HealthKit, taking advantage of HealthKit's ability to gather medical information from a device and share it with an iOS app. Apple already announced it has electronic health record software vendor Epic Systems as a HealthKit partner. Many other manufacturers, such as glucose monitor company Dexcom, are interested in HealthKit and are in talks with Apple and the FDA about adopting the technology.

Apple has made clear it views HealthKit as an important aspect of iOS 8 and upcoming devices such as the Apple Watch, in line with the company's emphasis on enriching the lives of users through innovation in technology. That vision, however, will take some time to develop as Apple continue its own work and relies on partners to help support the effort going forward.

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68 months ago
Thought it said patent trials at first and was like here we go again! :rolleyes:
Rating: 10 Votes
68 months ago


Personally, I'm at a fairly high level of unease about the ramifications behind all of this. I can't really put my finger on why, but overall there seems to be a potential for abuse.


Certainly true for almost all transformative technologies. This feeling alone should be evidence for the huge potential Apple has here.

I work in healthcareIT, specifically with the transfer of information between provider facilities, and everyone initially has an unease with doing this differently, with utilizing technology differently than they have in the past. Security, privacy, workflow...etc.

But the potential for change, once enacted and the bumps are ironed out, is huge. EMR technology can greatly improve patient care, and this kind of technology, where data (high quality) comes from the patient to the provider, could be huge as well.

With the partnership with IBM in the back of my mind, I wonder if this isn't the next frontier Apple is moving into. Will this industry see the next iDevice/AppleDevice after the apple watch?
Rating: 4 Votes
68 months ago
I can honestly say the health aspect of the Apple presentation was what got me the most excited. Seems kind of silly, but it has a lot of potential.
Rating: 4 Votes
68 months ago

They should have given the patients an Apple Watch instead of iPod Touch. Seems like that would have been a better beta test.

Also, I know Tim is very interested in fitness. But I wonder how much of this HealthKit push was driven by what happened to Steve Jobs, who probably wouldn't have died if he had more accurate information about his health early on (and had taken appropriate action).


Pretty sure Steve had all the information available but just refused to have surgery/go with conventional medical management.
Rating: 3 Votes
68 months ago
The healthcare system is a hugely complicated mess, so it's interesting to see that Apple apparently sees more opportunity here than in TV.
Rating: 3 Votes
68 months ago

I believe that an iPhone is required to use the new Apple Watch.


An Apple Watch is also required, so given the absence of any Apple Watches...
Rating: 2 Votes
68 months ago

This is all nice, however the problem here is that this would be truly revolutionary if it was used at scale. I suspect that this will only be used by a select few Hospitals / Doctor practices. I dont expect to be able to use this with my local doctor anytime soon.


Sure you will.

You'll print out a copy of your readings, and they'll dutifully scan it into their system and never look at it again.
Rating: 2 Votes
68 months ago

They should have given the patients an Apple Watch instead of iPod Touch. Seems like that would have been a better beta test.

Also, I know Tim is very interested in fitness. But I wonder how much of this HealthKit push was driven by what happened to Steve Jobs, who probably wouldn't have died if he had more accurate information about his health early on (and had taken appropriate action).


I often wonder if Steve's diagnosis and death is driving Apple into the health sector. Perhaps directed by Steve himself before he died, perhaps by Tim after - or a bit of both. Regardless - they can only improve the sector as health IT is abysmal. I'm also excited about what Apple and IBM might do for the health sector given their partnership. I'm pretty sure this is one of the areas where such a partnership could revolutionise things.
Rating: 2 Votes
68 months ago
If only this had a non-invasive method to monitor blood glucose levels. A tough cookie to crack, and get approval, but if any company could do it, my bets on Apple.
Rating: 2 Votes
68 months ago
Same here. I first read it as patent trial. ;)

May be the title should be
Duke and Stanford Begin Live Trials With Apple's HealthKit Service
Rating: 2 Votes

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