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Meet two hospitals partnering with Apple

September 16, 2014

    Dan Diamond, Executive Editor

    Apple's new health apps are just hours away. And we're finally getting clarity on how hospitals plan to use them.

    While Apple's iPhone 6 doesn't officially go on sale until Friday, the company's new operating system—iOS 8—will be released on Wednesday. That release will include Apple's new HealthKit platform, which is the company's flagship health software that's open to external programmers.

    As an early HealthKit pilot, Stanford University Hospital and Duke University are joining Apple to test whether chronically ill patients can use HealthKit to remotely track and manage their symptoms, Christina Farr reports for Reuters.

    (And it really is early; Stanford has only two patients in its trial.)

    The two academic medical centers join Mayo Clinic as early Apple partners. Apple also has reportedly been in talks with Cleveland Clinic and New York Ciy's Mount Sinai.

    Apple in talks with top hospitals to become 'hub' of health data

    The goal of the pilots, which will be rolled out in the near future, is relatively limited in scope: To help improve data collection, which is usually done by telephone or fax.

    The researchers also are working to get HealthKit to automate patient alerts, especially when using data that's collected through HealthKit and uploaded directly into Epic medical records. (One of the features of the HealthKit software.)

    According to Rajiv Kumar, the doctor leading Stanford's pilot and a pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford Children's Health, his team is working to develop alerts based on the data and notify patients via Epic MyChart when their blood sugar spikes or falls.

    Duke University's Ricky Bloomfield, an internal medicine pediatrician and director of mobile strategy, told Reuters that the pilots could help physicians better track data for chronically ill patients outside of the hospital.

    "This could eliminate the hassle of getting data from patients, who want to give it to us," according to Bloomfield. "HealthKit removes some of the error from patients' manually entering their data."

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    The trials could grow quickly. Stanford researchers are hoping to expand their HealthKit pilot to other patient—specifically, infants and teenagers—if it goes well.

    And these two pilots are just the tip of what's likely coming in the next week: Other hospitals are expected to announce more trials and apps as the new iPhone makes its way to consumers, and providers make more progress implementing HealthKit.

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    Meg Aranow, Senior Research Director

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