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How Apple is Going to Disrupt the Healthcare Sector with HealthKit

When was the last time you remember, Apple really disrupting anything big time?

No, I am not talking about those regular iOS updates or certain hardware improvements that they bring out every time they release a new iOS or a new device.

I am actually talking about disruptions as good as the launch of the first iPod, iTunes, iPhone or iPad which not only changed the mobile industry but also made mobile an important part of other industries like Music, Education, Telecom, Retail etc.

But before I delve more into it let me share my love for Apple.

My admiration for Apple existed much before I bought my first iPhone device i.e. iPhone 4.

I was always fascinated by Mac, and Mac G5 was the first Mac I used for editing videos. I also have an iPod which these days belongs to my two and half year old son. But as I laid my hands on this smartphone I realized ‘why only an iPhone is an iPhone and everything else is just trying to catch up with it.’

When Apple launched iOS 7, introduced flat design and dropped skeumorphism in their UX, most of the iOS upgrades have been cosmetic changes. Although I am personally not very pleased with the tech-giant’s decision to drop skeumorphism yet it has not deterred my obeisance for the innovative marketer.

But this year’s WWDC is going to be memorable because Apple tried to change things again.

At this year’s WWDC Apple had so much to reveal and create excitement about. There was OS X Yosemite, which is going to elevate the experience of using Mac again. There is iOS 8 which introduces context aware QuickType, learning within-the-device concept, group messages organized in threads, integration of iCloud along with storage pricing for photos, and some strong hints about its wearable gadget iWatch. But these are not the announcements which make WWDC 2014 so special.

If this year’s WWDC is going to be memorable; it will be for one main reason – HealthKit.

HealthKit combined with Health App is going to change everything again, at least for the Healthcare Sector. I will highlight the relation between the two in the later half, right now let me share something more about Apple on a personal note.

What are some of the adjectives that resonates instantly in your mind with ‘Apple’?

Beautiful, Incredible, Awesome, Perfect, Premium or may be Fruit if you are a caveman J Isn’t it?

Steve Jobs once mentioned:

“One of the keys to Apple is that we build products that really turn us on.”

Wondering what has all this got to do with the new app? Here I raise the curtain.

What is the HealthKit Platform and Its Relation with Health App

As stated by the SVP of Apple, Craig Federighi at the WWDC, “Up to now the information gathered by those applications (created in the past or still being developed) lives in silos; can’t get a single comprehensive picture of your health situation, but now you can with HealthKit.”

HealthKit can be appropriately termed as a rendezvous for ‘silos’ which will help you form an amalgamated profile of your health. In simple words all your medical apps, the ones for measuring your blood pressure, blood sugar level, weight and other chronic medical conditions can all be mustered under one roof.

This doesn’t sound like really much, isn’t it?

Now let me reveal the interesting part to you, its interrelated app ‘Health’.

The white toolbox with a pink heart on it, is really like Pandora’s Box but this one helps you monitor your vital health stats. For instance, how many steps you covered in a day? What should be your ideal weight and workout strategy etc.?

And to top it all you can integrate your third party applications in it too.

Don’t worry about securing your privacy and information accessibility zone, it is in the hands of Apple. In simple words, this apple won’t keep the doctor away rather it will aid you in keeping your medical contacts and other health related assistance handy; a major requirement in these pacing times.

This is just a simple overview, we have more to discuss on the topic as we proceed further.

Why Apple Chose to Invest in Health Care Ecosystem Now

While reading a Forbes article on the marketing strategies adopted by Apple I was pinched back to reality by a point which said, Apple had turned down several offers on co-marketing in the mid-2000s while building its brand value. Although it was associating with new suppliers like Intel, ATI and even Microsoft in some cases, for its hardware and software requirements, there was no co-branding to be seen. The simple reason being, it wanted prospects to focus on the name ‘Apple’.

Well, now we see Federighi at the WWDC, reading an appreciation quote from the CEO of Mayo Clinic for the inclusion of the Mayo Clinic App in Health. And there is the Nike+ app, already a craze amongst most runners and fitness freaks, including other apps from leading health brands.

Following are two good reasons why Apple decided to invest in Healthkit:

  • Sell more devices: First and foremost the main strategy of Apple is to sell more devices especially when Android phones has already beaten Apple in terms of number of phones sold. Apple have been successful in creating the desire for their products in the past through the user experience and hardware that they offer.
    Over a period of time, both hardware and user experience of Android and for that matter Windows phone devices have also improved significantly and these two factors are not really the differentiators any more.
    So, this why Apple needed something very badly that could become something so essential for users that they become dependent on Apple devices. Nothing is more important for a user than his health and Healthkit along with Health App helps him to manage these. If Apple succeeds in convincing people that Healthkit is essential part of everyday life, Apple devices are likely to sell more.
  • Focus on Ecosystem rather than only Apps:  Apple as a company believed in getting it done Right rather than getting it done first. They always believed that creating an ecosystem first makes more sense than rush to develop apps. For example when they introduced iTunes they changed the music industry and sold more iPods and later iPhones. For the same reasons Apple did not focus on creating third party heath apps but have tried to create an ecosystem for heath app users to manage all their data about health via Healthkit. Being a part of the health care ecosystem has its own benefits.
    Apple has allowed third-parties to emblazon their names on its platform all this while; but now with this feat it can bring all these health brands under its gazebo easily.

So, any questions about why is Apple targeting the health sector?

Well, I have one!

How is This Going to Help HealthKit Users and Developers

One can say that HealthKit goes out of its way to aid its users. It can get you immediate medical attention, which includes notifying a hospital or a doctor if there are major fluctuations in your normal blood pressure, sugar level or similar such health parameters. Hence, you stay safe under the care of your iPhone HealthKit.

This is one subject which never loses significance, rather with our changing lifestyle, we have become more health conscious and every device which connects us with our workout regime is welcome in the app kit. Hence, HealthKit has been introduced to ensure that your iPhone becomes an indispensable part of your healthy lifestyle.

Developers have newer and better scopes of coming up with health based apps, not to forget that the race to get accepted in the iPhone sphere will get tougher. More enterprises related directly and indirectly to the health care industry will line-up to partner with Apple, through their apps. However, designing and developing outstanding applications high on user value, which stand out in the contest will get more challenging.

Hence, being a user you will be health-updated while there will be more scopes to fulfill as a developer. So, set your watch and watch out for the launch of the Health app.

About the Author
Rohit Dogra
Rohit Dogra leads Marketing at Net Solutions. A technology enthusiast, he tries to understand marketing from everything around him; from people, brands, stories etc. He is a firm believer that the best work comes at the intersection of various functions. For the last 14 years, he has played various roles of a Business Analyst, Presales Consultant, Sales Guy and Marketer. When he is not working, he loves to spend time with his son, cycle around the city, going for long walks and reading books. You can reach him via Twitter. His twitter handle is @rohitdogra

4 thoughts on “How Apple is Going to Disrupt the Healthcare Sector with HealthKit

  1. Sunny on said:

    I am excited about this new health-care app update.
    Thanks for posting this valuable blog on new iOS update.

  2. Sam Kinger on said:

    Really nice article. I like the way you have presented the idea.

  3. Anuradha on said:

    Very informative blog. Keep writing

  4. Pingback: How the Internet of Things is changing the World around Us

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