Apple to build diagnostic capabilities into fitness tracker

Although its current HealthKit technology focuses primarily on collecting fitness data from users, Apple wants to work toward a point where its software will be able to analyze that data and turn it into actionable diagnostics that physician could use, according to Bloomberg Technology.

Other initiatives undertaken by Apple in recent years, such as designing improved biomarker-measuring apps for its Apple Watch, and hiring a variety of clinical and health professionals to create better EHRs, are all contributing to the ultimate goal of fixing major problems in the healthcare industry today, sources told Bloomberg, in particular, interoperability and data analysis.

Apple's August purchase of the Redwood, Calif.-based startup Gliimpse, a company that enables users to aggregate personal medical data from a number of sources and control who sees it and how, may have been a big clue as to the direction of its technology. Another recent acquisition in the form of the hiring of YouTube-famous physician Mike Evans, MD, better known as "DocMikeEvans," also helps clarify Apple's vision. Dr. Evans' messaging is very straightforward and in a cartoon format, and it focuses on helping viewers understand medical information in short, informative videos.

While Apple hasn't hinted at much by way of a timeline for new healthcare-oriented innovations, Bloomberg reports one way to track the company's progress is through a number of ongoing studies enabled by its ResearchKit technology. Sources told Bloomberg Apple is using many of these opportunities to learn about data collection and aggregation with world-class medical institutions in ways that could inform the company's own technology in the not-too-distant future.

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