If a new report is to be believed then Apple wants its iPhone to work as a “one-stop shop” for all medical information of its owner. The Cupertino-based giant is reportedly in talks with hospitals, developers, and other industry experts to make this a reality.
CNBC reports that there’s a “secretive team” within Apple’s “health unit” that is working to make sure that the iPhone can store clinical data including lab results and allergy lists, which could later be shared with third-parties like a hospital or an expert. The report cites almost half-dozen people familiar with the team, and adds that the company is also looking at startups in the “cloud hosting space.” It says that Apple is even considering acquiring a startup that could fit in the company’s plans.
Apple is being said to be in talks with health IT industry groups including “The Argonaut Project,” which is promoting the adoption of open standards for health info, and “The Carin Alliance,” which is an organisation that’s working to offer patients a central role in controlling their own medical data.
The report also adds that Apple’s Vice President of software technology Bud Tribble has been personally involved with the “The Carin Alliance” project. It further claims that Apple has “hired some of the top developers” involved with FHIR, a protocol that’s used for exchanging electronic health records.
“Essentially, Apple would be trying to recreate what it did with music – replacing CDs and scattered MP3s with a centralised management system in iTunes and the iPod – in the similarly fragmented and complicated landscape for health data,” stresses CNBC’s Christina Farr.
This won’t be the company’s first attempt to cater to health care sector as Apple’s HealthKit has been in existence for a couple of years now. Though, HealthKit has mostly been focused more towards fitness and wellness. Apple’s HealthKit includes a feature dubbed health records but that involves manual import of reports, and lacks a centralised feature that could help the user share medical info with a third-party.
Apple’s latest move could bring a revolutionary change to the way healthcare sector has been functioning for years. One of the biggest issues with medical sector has been keeping tap of the latest medical records of the users, and if Apple can get things right then this might turn out to be a boon.