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According to an article by Reuters, two leading US hospitals will conduct clinical trials using the Apple HealthKit in diabetics and patients with chronic diseases.
HealthKit, which is still under development, is the center of a new healthcare system developed by Apple. Regulated medical devices, such as glucose monitors, along with iPhone apps, can send information to HealthKit. With the consent of the patient, the Apple service collects data from various health applications so that doctors can see them in one place.
The doctors of the Stanford University Hospital they are already working with Manzana to keep track of blood sugar levels in children with diabetes. On the other hand, the Duke university will launch a pilot program to track blood pressure, weight and other measurements in patients with cancer or heart disease.
The objective is to improve the precision and speed in the transmission of information, which is currently usually done by telephone and fax. In this way, doctors could warn patients of an impending problem. Pilot programs will go live in the coming weeks.
Apple mentioned the trials last week in a press release announcing the latest version of iOS 8, its operating system for phones and tablets, but this is the first time the details have come to light. According Reuters, Manzana declined to comment on this issue.
In the first Stanford trial, young patients with type 1 diabetes will go home with a ipod touch to check blood sugar levels between doctor visits. HealthKit establishes a fundamental link between the measuring devices used in the home by patients and the medical information services used by doctors, such as Epic Systems Corp.
Manufacturers of medical devices are also participating in trials of Stanford and Duke.
DexCom, which manufactures blood sugar monitoring equipment, is negotiating with Manzana, Stanford and the FDA to carry out the integration with HealthKit.
Device DexCom measures glucose levels through a small sensor inserted under the skin of the abdomen. Data is transmitted every five minutes to a portable receiver, which is powered by a blood glucose meter. The glucose measurement system then sends the information to the glucose application. DexCom for mobile phones, installed, for example, on an iPhone.
With the new system, HealthKit can collect data from DexCom, as well as other manufacturers of devices and applications; and send them to the application Epic's "MyChart", so physicians can view them in Epic's electronic health record.
In this way, HealthKit promises to improve the data sharing process between physicians and the people in their care. However, observers have pointed to the potential for this sensitive information to be abused. Others are wary of having all their private information stored in one place, which could be attacked by hackers, for example.
In order to guarantee patient privacy, Manzana is considering creating a “HealthKit Certification”For third-party developers, whose terms will stipulate how data should be stored securely on devices and will prohibit the sale of data to advertisers. In fact, Apple recently updated its "Developer Guide" by adding some information exchange standards for health applications.
The pilot program is expected to expand rapidly if no problems arise.
Two young patients with diabetes have been chosen to participate in the initial trial of the Standford and it is expected to spread to adolescents and children.
More About HealthKit (Apple developers).