Apple's HealthKit in iOS 8 unites health data, talks to doctors

Among other things, the software will let health apps share data with fitness apps

HealthKit, a new feature of Apple's iOS 8, will let apps share health and activity information and send it to doctors.

The new version of iOS, announced at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, will also let developers share features across apps, such as bringing a language translation function into the Safari browser. Other new features in iOS 8 include predictive typing suggestions, recording voice messages in the Messages app, and developers' ability to sell bundles of apps.

HealthKit was the biggest complete addition to iOS in what Apple called a major step forward for the mobile OS.

"iOS 8 is a giant release," CEO Tim Cook told the approximately 6,000 developers in the audience at WWDC in San Francisco. The new OS is available in beta testing now and will be generally released in the fall of this year, Apple said.

With HealthKit, Apple aims to bring together what have been siloed bits of information about health and activity in order to create an overall profile of a user's health.

Today, for example, activity level, heart rate and weight information are typically in separate apps, as are data about chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering. Using an app that comes with HealthKit, called Health, users can see all the health and activity information their phone collects in one place, he said.

HealthKit will also let one application share information with another, with the user controlling what data is shared with which applications. For example, data such as heart rate and weight could be shared with a fitness app from Nike, which is working on using HealthKit, Federighi said.

Users will also be able to allow applications to share such information with apps from health care providers, who can compare readings with the ranges prescribed that patient. "If not, it can contact the hospital proactively, notify a doctor, and that doctor can reach back to that patient, providing more timely care," Federighi said. Apple has partnered with the Mayo Clinic in developing one such app. Epic Systems, which makes software for medical centers, is also working on integration with HealthKit.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationapplicationswwdcioshardware systemsiPhonetabletsmobileiPadAppleconsumer electronicssmartphonesMobile OSes

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?