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November 20th, 2014

Weekly Mobile Insights- 11: Everything about Mobile Healthcare

HealthKit Review
It’s now been about a month since Apple HealthKit became available, so what do people think so far? Reviews have been pretty mixed. Most people believe the app itself is pretty disappointing but the platform potential remains huge. Readwrite has a long article about its deficiencies here and more thorough review of all the features here.

One of the main criticisms of HealthKit is whether the information can actually be useful from a medical perspective or if it’s only really for our personal health? Although the step and movement tracking probably are of limited use, there are other capabilities that are expected to be more useful. Stanford and Duke Universities are running trials with diabetes and blood pressure tracking to understand more. Read about it here.

Data privacy is a key concern for HealthKit and other health apps and the FTC recently engaged in conversations with Apple about this as described further in this article.

What do we think?
This is version 1.0 in a huge industry segment where innovation takes a bit more time. Regulatory and legal restrictions mean that disruptive innovation may take a couple of years to hit the market but giving the power to developers to access information and develop applications is a huge leap forward. All of our clients in the healthcare and pharma space are already looking at how they should leverage HealthKit and other technologies from Google and Microsoft (see below).

Google Fit (Health)
Google Fit is slightly less ambitious than Apple HealthKit as it’s focused on fitness but other than this the concept is very similar. PC Magazine provides a first review of the app where most of the criticism is around lack of existing 3rd party apps that connect to Google Fit.

What do we think?
Google’s service looks a bit less joined up and ambitious then Apple but the core functionality for fitness and health tracking is the same. We are confident that developer and 3rd party fitness app adoption will quickly pick up and that the service will be competitive with Apple HealthKit. However, most developers will start with HealthKit.

Microsoft joins Google and Apple with healthcare and fitness platform
That Microsoft would follow Apple and Google was expected but the wristband probably came as a surprise to most people. Microsoft launched a proposition that is equally ambitious to Apple including the wider health scope and although it’s too early to say anything about the service the offering looks exciting. This article provides more information.

What do we think?
Microsoft has a strong foothold in the health sector including credibility that they can manage regulatory compliance. For the health sector itself the Microsoft platform may very well become the first choice.

How to classify a mobile medical app and submit it for FDA approval or clearance
One of the greatest concerns in the US and some European countries has been how you classify mobile apps and therefore what regulations and approvals are required. Now the FDA in the US has come out with an initial classification framework with examples. You can find more information on this here.

What do we think?
The guidelines are pretty straightforward and having examples as a reference is great. We believe that the FDA has set a precedent in this area that will be used in other markets.

Mothers buy in to mobile apps to track babies and health
As of July, around 3 in 10 U.S. mother smartphone users said they tracked their own fitness, their weight and their child’s development on their smartphones, and 23% kept track of their kid’s nutrition that way. But all those activities would appeal to at least 40% of respondents if mothers felt they were easier to do. Read more here.

What do we think?
Mothers is a huge consumer segment that are more than happy to invest in devices and applications that will help them ensure them of their child’s and their own health. This is potentially one of the first really big use cases in terms of taking the health tracking kits from Google, Apple and Microsoft to the next stage.

Tags: healthcare insights

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