Apple’s iOS 8 has received mixed reactions from users and analysts, but there is one thing no one can deny: the new operating system comes with a couple of new features that have a huge impact on the digital customer experience. The first one is ApplePay, that can change the way we purchase, even according to Bill Gates; the second feature is HealthKit and is meant to change our medical experience. How?
There is still a bit of confusion about HealthKit: some identify this new feature with an app (Health), but there is a lot more than that. It is a dynamic platform, working behind the scenes even when you don’t see it running, designed to track and share with authorized stakeholders and apps a vast range of health and fitness data across multiple devices. A huge revolution when used as a serious medical tool.
You might not even interact with HealthKit directly, as it can be seen as a data repository where apps can insert and extract information to process. To make it simple: HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other. This ensure a consistent experience to each user, collecting data through device sensors and connecting with Health and even with third-party apps to let you store and access data in one place.
You can use this new feature as a wellness tool or personal trainer, but it will produce the best results in the hands of doctors and medical specialists:
It can aggregate data from different apps or connected devices, i.e. smartwatches, self tracking wearables or blood pressure measurement devices.
It can automate the recording of medical data, to improve diagnosis accuracy and always present updated information.
It can interact with electronic records systems in hospitals or doctor’s office, so that your data could be automatically included in your personal report.
In the next future, iBeacons will play a vital role in how patients interact with doctors and hospital rooms.
The Health app designed for iOS, of course, is the first and best so far way to connect with data stored in the platform. It allows you to manually enter data and creates a dashboard for visualizing your whole medical scenario. More important, it includes a Medical ID feature - to record information like medications or allergies - available even when your phone screen is locked in case of emergency.
There are so many opportunities for medical applications that developers are still trying to figure out how to make it work the right way. And there is one last concern: privacy. What is Apple going to do with all our data? And third parties? Cupertino reassures that both platform and app are designed to respect privacy at their core, and that it has also barred developers from selling information or mining it for non medical research. Is it enough?Anyway, what is really interesting for us it that, finally, hospitals and doctors and wellness players are entering in an era defined by big data and empowered customers. Being businesses in a moment of public funding cuts, organizations must adapt their marketing strategy to become more effective and attract clients/patients. The Age of Customers, with both iOS 8 and next generation Android, may result in a cheaper and faster health service and a better patient customer journey.