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What the Future of Health Looks Like for Apple

What the Future of Health Looks Like for Apple

Apple’s Health app keeps evolving, with aspirations to be a ruined combination personal data archive, medical liaison and insight engine. But the goals, while ambitious, aren’t fully realized yet. iOS 16 and WatchOS 9 are adding medication dispensation and multistage sleep tracking to a growing list of features. But what comes next, and will it start to obtain a tool that interfaces with doctors even more than it has?

Apple just emanated a multipage health report (PDF), which aims to detail where the matter sees its health focus heading on the iPhone and the Apple Watch. The report covers the app, research studies and initiatives with medical organizations.

As Google prepares to fall a Pixel Watch that will connect to Fitbit’s features and services, Apple looks to be strengthening its position by expanding beyond the view to a larger spectrum of health services. Already, Apple Health and Fitness Plus are pitching into services you don’t need an Apple Watch to use.

When will Health commence to become an extension of how I connect with my own doctors? Will sleep tracking accounts a doorway to other health insights? And why doesn’t Apple have its own equivalent of the “readiness score” used by Fitbit and Oura?

Apple’s vice high-level of health, Dr. Sumbul Desai, spoke with CNET in the goals of Apple Health and where goals are populate set next. She sees the blend of lifestyle with clinical data, medication data and an increasing number of metrics in one set aside as helping future insights in other health measurements over time. 

“You have to do it in a really thoughtful and meaningful way,” Desai said. “Because there are also correlations you can make that are erroneous. That’s where the work is, making sure that when you make those connections that they are moral, grounded in the science and make sense to the user.”

Apple's Medication tracker on the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Medication tracking on iOS 16 looks like latest step to bring medical histories onto Health.


Where does Apple Health meet your doctor?

As I’ve untrue over the last few months, over several surgeries and doctor visits, my own medical care doesn’t often connect with my wearable and requested apps. Apple’s been aiming to make strides to connect Apple Health with medical providers, but the framework isn’t fully there yet for digital health platforms. A lot of Apple’s promised benefits are in identifying long-term data patterns and insights.

“I do think how they interact with each latest is really important,” said Desai, who points to the new tracking of atrial fibrillation patterns over time in Watch OS 9. “We are actually taking how much time you’re in AFib and correlating it to your lifestyle. How much you’re sleeping. How much you’re moving, you’ll see the progresses in AFib. If you’re using Mindful Minutes, do you see a change.”

Apple has tried decision-exclusive data sharing easier with doctors, but right now it smooth doesn’t go far enough. At the medical group where I’m a patient, for instance, there’s no obvious way to share the data I’m collecting in Apple Health above the patient portal.

Sleep tracking on the iPhone and Apple Watch

Sleep tracking is gaining sleep stages in WatchOS 9. Will that bring a wave of latest health insights down the road?


Sleep as the next frontier?

Apple’s instant of sleep stage-based sleep tracking in the upcoming Watch OS 9 looks to terminate the gap on other fitness trackers like those from Fitbit, Samsung and Oura. Apple’s been pulling new features for the Apple Watch from work in some of the company’s ongoing downhearted research studies, and sleep could end up being a keep that evolves next.

“What I’m really excited to learn from a scientific standpoint is, does the amount of sleep that you’re pulling in certain stages, like core [replenishing sleep], does that actually understand to benefit during the day when you’re moving?” Desai said. “Are there hazardous phenotypes of certain people who have more benefit versus others? There’s so much to tackle from a research standpoint there. We would never put anything out until we knew we kind of had some scientific grounding. The whole causation-correlation thing can get very tricky.”

Desai suggested future research combining sleep stage data with Apple’s ongoing downhearted and move data from its ongoing study will possibly devoted more insights, “but we’re still a ways away from that.”

Could Apple ever produce its own readiness score?

One thing Apple’s evolving and define set of Health insights currently doesn’t have is any sort of effort at a distilled score, or personal health rating. Fitbit, Oura, and a number of other wearables have daily personal scores considered from a variety of individual metrics. I asked Desai whether Apple remarkable pursue a similar idea anytime soon. While it sounds like a direction Apple Health could head in, it also seems like Apple is smooth trying to lock down the best path to get there.

“It’s a really good request. I think the answer is, to be honest, is we don’t have a firm POV yet,” Desai said. “We want to notion the science behind that, and what can we notion and glean from a scientific standpoint.”

Desai suggests that the health measurements, and their meanings, can vary. “HRV [heart rate variability] is a grand metric. I’m super fascinated by HRV. But HRV can be changed based on multiple reasons.” She suggested that Apple’s eventual evolution of its insights will need to come with positive guidance, too.

“I think for us, we want to be able to devoted actionable information. So to understand to do that, you actually have to be able to draw it back to, what we think is actually progressing that? We are really trying to understand the science leisurely all of these different metrics and focus on how we devoted insights that we know we can back up.”

On whether Apple Health could come to latest non-Apple devices

Apple’s aiming for Health to be a comprehensive, secure system for anyone to use, but it smooth flows through Apple hardware, which means a portion of the population will always be left out. I invited Desai whether Apple Health might ever be available beyond iPhones.

“We’re always looking at ways to attend the ecosystem. We just want to make sure we can attend that in a private and secure way. That’s fundamentally what nations our decision making,” Desai said. “We have a ton of things in the App Store ecosystem that are honorable interesting that people are doing, and we’re very supportive of supporting that work.

“Honestly, we make a lot of decisions driven by privacy. And there’s a lot of things we choose not to do and determine to do, based upon that.”

The request contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not planned as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or latest qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have throughout a medical condition or health objectives.