Connected All The Time

So there is a story on Mashable called The Latest Tool in Medicine? The iPhone which highlights some studies where iPhones are being used to collect data as part of medical studies.

Yes, carrying around a powerful compute device, that you can interface with, that is connected to the mother ship for two way communications might result in some powerful new medical studies, advances, options and ideas. Duh.

It is not really the iPhone, it is the mobile, connected, compute device that people have with them all the time (and won’t leave behind) that is the key here. I love my iPhone, but that is not the advance, it is the connected device connecting to the patient/subject.

There will be huge things coming from this as has been written about elsewhere. Immediate detection of crisis events, more frequent sampling of data in studies, ability to trigger something to happen to the patient (administer something), etc. etc. Lots of things can come from this.

An Integrated Health Database

It is interesting to note that the Apple Health application isn’t taking off very quickly. Several of the related apps that I use do not share data with the Health database, but they are willing to take data from the database. The program Lose It! connects but only draw nutrient data from the database and doesn’t share its own data. Fitbit has not expressed much interest and is not sharing. It is even surprising that Nike doesn’t share data yet, but I suspect they will soon.

This database will not be valuable unless various apps are willing to share their data which many likely won’t do. These sites would prefer that users have to visit their applications or web site (to see ads) and they don’t want it consolidated elsewhere.

Several possible scenarios might unfold:

  1. Applications vendors will choose not to take part (share) and the database will never reach a level where it has a complete picture of one’s health. At some point in the future it will quietly disappear.
  2. New vendors and applications will arise who want to play in this space and they will supplant the incumbents by providing this connectivity and this integration and users will shift away from the leading apps today to these new ones. In short, this is a time of disruption. Or
  3. Apple will be the main user of the database and a few other parties and it will never go very far beyond where Apple invests.

All of his ignores legal and privacy questions or challenges which might affect it too.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Google and Apple got together and used the same integrated database so applications built on either platform could share in the same format? Oh, sorry, I was just thinking…