If there’s one universal truth about healthcare, it’s that there’s simply not enough access to it, at least not affordable access. So it’s no wonder that services like the video chat-based Doctor On Demand have cropped up, as well as hundreds of apps aimed at helping patients with every type of condition, both in their physical health and mental health. But as with every kind of app on the market, there are some great ones and there are some real duds.
It’s not really a major issue if your knock-off version of Candy Crush doesn’t load properly or has a few bugs, but if you’re relying on a diabetes monitoring app and it crashes, that could be a serious problem. Apple is taking steps to correct that.
While the tech giant isn’t getting into the world of medical monitoring (yet), they’ve created a toolset for app developers who are working to create genuinely useful medical apps. Apple’s CareKit helps developers reach a certain standard of service before unleashing their apps on people who are already resorting to using an app as part of their medical care. This new level of app support has already been put to work, and the App Store has rolled out several new medical apps for monitoring diabetes, pregnancy and infant care, depression, and more.
One issue that has made Apple mobile devices perfect for the medical care connectivity market is their level of encryption. Medical information is so highly sensitive as to be protected by law, and the level of encryption allows for what is possibly the most secured method of sending and storing personal medical histories. It’s certainly safer than any paper file stored in a doctor’s office, and given the rash of ransomware attacks hitting hospitals and medical centers, it’s probably as good as or better than any desktop-based network.
In what is becoming another example of Apple’s tech commitment, the company is currently not monetizing CareKit, and instead has provided this tool set to developers at no cost. The tools themselves had already been developed for other applications involving sensitive health data, so making them available to app creators wasn’t much of a burdensome expense.