Columbus, Oh. Over the past couple months I’ve been lucky enough to give the Apple Watch a trial run. I was especially excited for the Activity and HealthKit applications that have big potential in healthcare.
As a patient goes in for their wellness checkup, why can’t they supply the doctor with information from these devices that already monitor everything they do? It has to do with being able to trust the information on accuracy and, of course, HIPAA compliance. If you are readying this blog you probably know what HIPAA is, but just in case…
HIPAA—Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—was enacted in 1996 and serves two primary functions. First, it helps patients switch insurance companies, facilitating the process of transferring medical information between healthcare providers. Second, it protects the privacy of that information by penalizing those who fail to treat test results, appointment schedules, and more health related items with the appropriate caution.
Apple took the first steps in making the information gathered by Apple’s HealthKit HIPAA compliant by addressing security by providing a central data hub for all of healthKit’s collected data and most-notably a secure messaging app that allows for users to be authenticated. This should ease some minds and create another way for physicians to communicate with other members of their practice and get valuable information from their patients. An early example of this was demoed at Apple’s fall event a company called AirStrip demoed the use of this HIPAA compliant interaction and showed how technology developed for the Apple Watch was enabling physicians to send secure messages to their care team about current patient vitals, appointments, and order tests. The company also demoed an app called Sense4Baby that, along with sensors attached to a pregnant woman’s body, could use her Apple Watch to transmit her and the unborn fetus’s heartbeats to her physician’s Apple Watch.
These types of advancements made in the technology and security of wearables makes it exciting to see how these devices are beginning to enable better patient care.