We believe Apple's HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people. We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app.
Here's what Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, had to say at WWDC 2014 about how Apple's HealthKit will enable the personalization of healthcare:
When a patient takes let's say a blood pressure reading, HealthKit automatically notifies their app and the app is automatically able to check whether that reading is within that patient's personalized healthcare parameters, and if not, it can contact the hospital proactively, notifying a doctor - and that doctor can reach back to that patient - providing more timely care.
The iWatch is not going to be a fitness trinket like the FitBit or the Nike FuelBand. Apple has hired leading biomedical engineers from companies such as Vital Connect, Masimo Corp, Sano Intelligence, O2 MedTech, and more to help it build a next generation health tracking device. The newly introduced HealthKit app, combined with iWatch sensor technology, will enable health sensors to monitor much of your health data ranging from blood pressure to stress levels to sleep cycles, and more, around the clock.
People are underestimating how big of an impact this will have on healthcare.
I have written before about what I call the overly pessimistic narrative surrounding Apple stock; I believe this move into healthcare by Apple will provide the final nail in the coffin of the negative popular narrative and lead the market to reevaluate its stance on how innovative Apple is in the post-Jobs era. This will lead to both an expansion of Apple's earnings as revenues increase from an additional product category, but also an expansion of the multiple that the market is willing to pay for Apple's stock (simply put, the market is willing to pay higher multiples for companies deemed to be more innovative).
Currently, many medical examinations involve relying on subjective measures such as questionnaires and interviews to determine whether or not someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, or ADHD. And if your doctor is trying to diagnose you for any number of ailments they have a very limited array of historical personal data that they can tap into to aid them.
And what happens when the doctors begin to treat these individuals they subjectively diagnosed? They perform a trial and error by sampling different drug types and doses with the patient and then routinely ask the patient how they feel and periodically monitor their vitals in order to adjust the dosage.
This is a very archaic way of practicing medicine given the present state of technology.
HealthKit provides a single place that applications can contribute to a composite profile of your activity and health.
Apple has partnered with numerous leading healthcare organizations such as Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Penn Medicine, Johns Hopkins, Duke Medicine, UCLA Health, Texas Health Resources, and many more to make this provider-patient transformation happen.
Apple is on the verge of bringing healthcare into the modern twenty-first century where big data and meta analysis enable doctors to be far more precise in their diagnoses and to obtain real-time and historical data to personalize treatment options - to optimize treatments based on each individual's quantified reaction.
What if doctors knew you were suffering from anxiety based on the stress readings from your iWatch sensors? Better yet, what if they knew exactly what 'level' of anxiety you suffer from? Better still, what if they could monitor the medication they administer to you with the iWatch to optimize the drug and dose? They would be able to monitor the drug's impact on your sleep cycles, stress levels, physical exercise, vital signs, and more.
This will dramatically limit the guess work that is currently plaguing the doctor-patient relationship.
By tracking each individual's health information around the clock and enabling healthcare providers to have access to this data, medicine will become completely tailored to each individual and will be based on a huge amount of historical and real-time health data.
Imagine how many people out there are going about their daily lives with untreated ailments that they do not know they have. Imagine how many people are on medication for ailments they do not really have. Imagine how many people are taking either far too strong or far too weak of a dose of medicine and are either damaging their bodies or living with unnecessary suffering. Imagine how the meta analysis of all this data could be used to advance our understanding and treatment of various ailments.
Disclosure: The author is long AAPL. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: Additional disclosure: I am not a qualified financial professional. The opinions expressed in the article and comments section are not investment advice. Please do your own research and follow your own due diligence practices and contact a financial adviser before making any investment decisions.