- The rollout of Apple's HealthKit been littered with problems, but the new health tracking platform finally went live last week. Apple pulled the app for tweaking when it released its new iOS 8 operating system last week. iPhone users could track steps, but nothing more with the product at that time.
- On Thursday, the company released an update to the operating system that fixed the app, but caused problems for the iPhone 6. A third update fixed the problem, but deleted any data consumers had already tracked.
- The app has been touted as filling a current hole in the industry by consolidating data and linking it all to providers. This is Apple's first big push into the health market, a step which they hope will be transformative to the industry.
Research released in August by Parks Associates found that only about 6% of people in US households with broadband access have a digital pedometer or fitness tracker. Only 2% of someone in these households bought a smart watch in 2013. Adoption has been painstakingly low. But Apple is hoping to change this market, as it has done with so many others. The company created a "Apps for Health" section in its store after the release of the HealthKit. And after a bumpy start, they are banking on the fact that connectivity of these programs will be key to increased use.
HealthKit's launch comes in the wake of the announcement that major electronic health vendors Cerner and Athenahealth are working with Apple to develop integrated applications that will work with the platform. Up until now, Apple had only announced a partnership with vendor Epic, and interoperability concerns had plagued the relationship.
Meanwhile, across the country, the data sharing platform is being rolled out in hospital trials testing its clinical usefulness. HealthKit is soon to be part of trials focusing on childhood diabetes with Stanford University Hospital and cancer and heart disease at Duke University. With HealthKit, which is still in development, Apple hopes to work with hospitals across the country to help manage and improve care and reduce costs for patients with chronic conditions.