I first wrote about Healthbook back in early February when vague, disparate rumors began to coalesce.
Over the past week, more information has been leaked about the forthcoming product. 9to5Mac continues to provide the most information with detailed descriptions and screenshots of what Healthbook may eventually look like. In a a piece later in the week, 9to5Mac profiled Vital Connect’s HealthPatch—a temporary patch worn on the chest to track various biologic parameters. As noted in the article, several Vital Connect employees have recently been hired by Apple.
After 9to5Mac’s piece last Monday, Wired weighed in on the subject, speculating Apple’s move into this space could take the quantified self/mHealth movements mainstream with far reaching implications.
As I said back in February, I am excited to see what Apple can bring to health and fitness. But I also want to re-iterate:
The big elephant in the mHealth/quantified self room is that no one has quite figured out what to do with all the data. Some highly motivated quantified selfers are using it to change their habits, but what impact will it have on the rest of the world?
To this point I also want to add that as consumer apps and devices move more and more into the medical world—through measurement of biologic data such as blood sugar levels or pulse oximetry—the need for evidence in terms of safety and efficacy will grow stronger. Not only will doctors want to know they can rely on the data, the FDA will demand the evidence for safety. 23andMe ran afoul of the medical regulatory culture. We are comfortable with novel devices counting steps without much research, but not so much when it comes making therapeutic decisions based on data from untested devices. But, maybe Apple has learned from 23andMe’s missteps.
This summer should be interesting.