With the announcement of the new Apple Watch there is a lot of buzz and talk about the possibilities for further healthcare integration. The watch is able to collect basic information such as the user's pulse, calorie intake and quantity of steps, and share that data with Apple's HealthKit. This app, which is a standard feature of iOS 8, can store vital information and aggregate health data from various wearable devices. On the surface, this represents multiple opportunities for the healthcare industry, but to understand the ramifications of its existence in the user's environment it needs to be explored further.
Mobile devices, wearables and apps that monitor and transmit vital health information have been developed to solve some of the gaps we face in healthcare today. However, their adoption has been limited and a lot of it has to do with the synergy between other data management components.
Therefore, with the addition of this new wearable access point, we find ourselves asking two key questions:
1) How will the watch app present one version of the health information that's consistent with every other app, or product, the user interacts with? Some applications could reside on an android device.
2) How does the watch blend with other devices across all touch points in a typical day for a healthcare user; including how to bridge the work and life scenarios for a user as it relates to health data?
Theoretically, with a true integrated cloud-based approach, the first question can be solved. It would take a unified architecture and a pure centralization of all data assets to make it a reality.
A bigger challenge will be a solution to the second question. For example, a physician uses multiple devices with a variety of programs in their daily routine. If the Apple Watch doesn't consistently integrate with all of the physician's touch points, what is the driving force for them to consistently wear the device? If an app doesn't fully sync with all of these separate experiences and devices, the experience is crippled and the total functionality of the watch is broken.
How will the Apple Watch fit into the user's overall health experience? That's the real question and one that we intend to find an answer for at the Garage.
Want to know more about our thoughts on wearables in healthcare? Reach out to us.