What is Apple’s HealthKit?

What is Apple’s HealthKit?

As it emerges more than half of major US hospitals are trialling Apple’s HealthKit, Rhiannon Williams refreshes your memory on what the framework does.

Share and collate health and fitness information through the Health app, complete with the option to create your own medical emergency card.

Apple’s HealthKit is being tested in some of the US’s top hospitals in a pilot scheme of the service, as doctors use it to collate data and monitor patients remotely.

Fourteen of 23 major hospitals are trialing the service, which was first announced as a key feature of iOS 8 last June, according to Reuters. Google and Samsung had reportedly approached a number of the same hospitals to discuss health-based technology plans.

So what is HealthKit, and will we be seeing it in British hospitals any time soon?

What is HealthKit?
HealthKit is a framework designed to house healthcare and fitness apps, allow them to work together and collate their data under the Health app. For example, a heart monitoring app and blood pressure tracking app could send information to each other from within HealthKit to develop a more comprehensive picture of your health. This customised data could then be sent to your physician via an app such as Mayo Clinic, which will allow your doctor to keep an eye on particular changes in your information remotely. Apple is also working with a number of partners including Nike on the fitness side of HealthKit, through which users can set goals and track their own progress through a single dashboard.

What will it do?

HealthKit has the potential to save healthcare providers millions by helping to identify developing ailments or potential patterns in improving or declining health. It is likely to play an integral part in the fitness capabilities of the Apple Watch when it goes on sale in April, which contains a custom heart rate sensor on its rear. The sensor uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect your heart rate, alongside an accelerometer. The Watch, according to the company, will provide a “comprehensive picture of your daily activity, suggest customised goals, and reward you for reaching personal fitness milestones.”


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The Apple Watch’s rear heart rate sensor

Is it safe? 
Apple says the data stored in the Health app can be backed up to the iCloud, where it is encrypted while in transit and at rest.

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