Move Over, Apple: Google Tries to Get Back Into the Health Sector

What if your smartphone could help you manage your overall well-being? Could a simple app help you get your health back on track?

This is what tech giants like Apple and Google are hoping as they roll out new solutions for healthcare providers and patients alike. Take Apple’s ResearchKit and HealthKit, for example. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you may be surprised by Apple’s determination to get into the healthcare industry.

HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the Health app. This means that users’ health information (i.e., your data) is stored in a centralized location. But don’t get too creeped out — the user ultimately decides what data should be shared.

ResearchKit is more of a coalition to connect medical professionals with researchers for the sake of everyone’s health. The open source software framework is designed to make it easier for people to create apps that could “revolutionize medical studies,” according to Apple. The average, everyday user can use ResearchKit to participate in studies, and he or she decides what data is shared with the public.

Now, Google is attempting to get in on the action with Google Fit. This is similar to HealthKit in the sense that it allows users to store fitness data acquired through apps, according to the International Business Times. It’s worth noting that Google had tried to enter the industry back in 2008 with Google Health. This program allowed users to manually input their health data, but Google eventually canned it due to a lack of adoption.

So why are all of these companies trying to tap into the medical field?

The answer may be as simple as this: technology is the future of healthcare. About two-thirds of all doctors now approve of patients bringing online health information to their appointments. Approximately 10 million people already use health applications on their mobile devices, and 78 percent of Americans show a general interest in mobile health solutions.

The bottom line is that technology is making it easier for patients to maintain their health, and it’s helping medical professionals perform better in the workplace. With more data at their fingertips, doctors are gaining the opportunity to make more accurate decisions and assist their patients with everything from chronic back pain to diabetes.

Thus far, technology and health are getting along just swell. These corporations couldn’t have an ulterior motive, could they?


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