Apple wants users to store their health data on their devices — Is it an Idea that’s Beneficial?

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Apple wants users to store their health data on their devices -- Is it an Idea that's Beneficial?

On the 20th of July, Apple released a special health report that explains the way that its ever-growing collection of fitness and health features available on both the Apple Watch as well as the iPhone helps bridge the gap between the users’ health data.

Its document, Empowering People to Enjoy a Healthy Day It is an 8-year overview of how the technology company’s latest innovations in health care aid in the overall health and well-being that its millions customers across the globe.

To prepare for iOS 16 and watchOS 9.0 which will be available this fall Apple Watch and iPhone will feature 17 functions that are focused on fitness and health including heart health, sleep women’s health, mindfulness.

“Technology could play an important role in improving the health of people however, it must be used with care,” Dr. Sumbul Desai,vice president of Health at Apple and clinical associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford said to Healthline. “We believe that there’s a way to inspire people to lead a healthier lifestyle.”

What’s new in the Apple document?

In conjunction with iOS 16 and watchOS 9 updates coming this autumn, Apple’s extensive selection of fitness and health features, such as meditation tips, sleep and heart and fitness tracking will be made available to more than 200 countries.

“All of our fitness and health features, whether it’s our Health app, or our latest features, such as sleeping stages, medication or AFib tools, are based upon the notion that having access to information about one’s health and relevant information will help users to play an active part with their overall health” Desai said, saying that Apple’s technology offers users the chance to take a long-term view on their overall health.

Apple’s venture into the wellness and health sector began in 2014 with launch of its Health app. It was followed by the Apple watch in the year 2015. Since then, Apple has collaborated with medical professionals to provide evidence-based insight into its expanding collection of health-related features.

The latest Apple report says that providing users a complete view of their health allows them to make decisions to achieve their goals for health. Based on the findings certain users have stated that Apple’s health tech has changed their lives and even life saving.

Health information of the user and information about privacy

The Apple report states that customers are now able to store more than 150 kinds of health-related data through the Health app that is available on devices like their Apple Watch, iPhone, and other connected applications or devices (if they wish to). Users can also save their health records from medical institutions that are connected throughout all of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada and decide if they wish to share their health records with their loved ones.

The availability of this information, as per the report, can help “break up barriers” between users with their personal health data. In a press conference on Tuesday, Apple representatives Apple said that their health technology helps strengthen the patient-provider partnership.

However, more than 150 (or more) kinds of health information is quite a large amount of sensitive information.

According to Apple the data of all users including health information, is secure and protected, and is not given to a third-party. If your iPhone has been locked as an example it can only be access via an ID card that is either a face or a touch this signifies that all data of the user is secure and secure.

“Privacy should be at the basis of our work,” Desai said. “Our commitment to privacy stems from the belief that users ought to expect the same privacy regarding their technology that they expect from their physician.”

There’s always the chance of a security attack from hackers, says Anthony Capone, the president of DocGo an expert in the relationship between health and technology.

“The most important thing is making the costs of data breaches more expensive in comparison to the benefit of the information,” Capone told Healthline. “In general this is the nature of software. It is important to make your defense measures as costly as possible when compared to the advantages of someone else obtaining the data.”

When it comes to sharing health information stored in your computer with your physician, Capone said there may be an additional benefit but it’s still recommended to be careful.

“When physicians have access the most information they can get they’re better able to make informed decisions regarding your treatment,” he said. “However it is important to know and inquire with your physician about the type of software they use. In the event that the software is ISO 27001 or SOC 2. this will make it more difficult to break into.”

Should you save health information in your devices?

As per Desai according to Desai, the Health App’s Health Records tool allows individuals to have more intimate conversations with their physicians and also for doctors to have a more clear knowledge of the lifestyle aspects which affect general health.

This Health Records tool is available to patients at more than 800 medical facilities spread in nearly 12,000 places. According to Apple it is easy for users to look up their medical information from multiple providers in Health. Health app.

Dr. Rigved V. Tadwalkar, board certified cardiologists of Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, said to Healthline that it can be beneficial for patients and physicians to have access to information about health which can be difficult to find.

“Having the ability to access that information is a huge benefit for a visit where the doctor is pressed to long periods of time” Tadwalkar stated. “From an ethical standpoint I think it’s the best choice to make. If someone wants access to their information, they ought to have it. It’s a the matter of how they’re accessible.”

Pros and pros and

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source states that in the year 2018, 51.8% of U.S. adults suffered from more than one chronic disease and 27.2 percent had multiple chronic illnesses. Capone stated that for those suffering from chronic illnesses constant health monitoring is vital.

“Today one of the biggest and fastest-growing segments in the technology sector for healthcare is remote monitoring of patients (RPM) that makes use of technological advancements to analyze medical information from patients to help assess the needs of providers,” Capone said. “A specifically targeted RPM device, such as the Apple Watch, can monitor the vital signs of a patient, for example, the heart’s rate.”

Dr. Tadwalkar and other doctors say they’ve gained from patients who keep track of, and share their health information with their physician. Tadwalkar explained that the most frequently used health information points provided to him by his patients are the heart rate as well as rhythm patterns.

“The most significant benefit is that there’s more data as it offers us the ability to see what’s happening with the individual’s health status is beyond the health care setting,” Tadwalkar said.

But, not every physician will ever want or require to analyze that amount of the patient’s health information. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of keeping health information in your smartphone.

Provides a more complete view of health

In the process of monitoring your health, and storing the data could provide your physician and you with a greater knowledge about your health overall.

Tadwalkar stated that there’s often the difference between what doctors observe in their offices and the conditions patients face at home. For example, a patient’s heart rate might be lower than the one recorded in the office of a doctor.

It helps you stay on top when it comes to your health

Many people might feel that they must be more engaged in their health to get the most optimal results Tadwalkar explains. It could help some to manage their overall health beyond their annual or biannual medical visits.

Potentially life-saving

The latest Apple report suggests the health-monitoring capabilities have saved the lives of a few users.

For instance, if an cardiologist has tried to detect a rare arrhythmia, but isn’t capable of locating it, the patient might be able record the event via the Apple Watch when it occurs in a different location than the doctor’s office. “That is, in actual fact, is significant, since you’ve now added an instrument for diagnosing,” Tadwalkar said. “Then we’ll be able to review it and determine whether it’s something that has to be investigated using a greater degree of rigorous clinical research.”

Also Read: NCOC imposes restrictions due to a new wave of COVID-19

In the event that someone is at risk of falling and is experiencing a major fall, they could activate an emergency SOS alert via the Apple Watch to call for assistance. “In my view that’s the real worth of these technologies,” Tadwalkar said. “When it’s given to the appropriate person, it can be very beneficial.”

‘ Too much’ information

“I think that the majority of doctors will agree that there’s a lot of information to absorb and can cloud the overall picture of their patients’ health” Tadwalkar told. “And I believe that the largest problem is that a lot of patients have difficulty comprehending that not all data points are necessary to take action on.”

Tadwalkar emphasized that having a plethora of health-related information about you aren’t necessarily a guarantee that they can be a conclusive piece of evidence in regards to taking charge of health. “In the real world, it could not be relevant to what we’re treating the data as,” he said.

Potentially anxiety-inducing

The sheer amount of personal health information available accessible to you can be stressful, especially for those suffering from mental health issues.

“If your access is to the entirety your medical records from different sources, you could be swept up in medical terminology and be overwhelmed by the volume of information available,” Tadwalkar said.

Apple is working with doctors to improve their medical knowledge.

The report also explains the ways that Apple’s health technology is being used in medical research over the last few times.

Apple’s ResearchKit framework allows researchers to recruit U.S.-based participants for their studies through their Apple Watch as well as iPhone users (participants could decide to share their health information to conduct research, or choose to opt out).

For instance the famous Apple Heart Study which was a major clinical study that was funded by Apple created important and valuable information for medical researchers to inform certain Apple health features. Desai stated that the study was peer-reviewed and offered the chance to collaborate with medical experts to better understand the effects on a heart beat alert.

Recent Apple studies conducted in collaboration with medical organizations such as those of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and The American Heart Association, the World Health Organization, and other organizations, comprise:

Initial findings from these studies are presented in the new report.

According to Apple that the fitness and health features are based on scientific research. (Apple’s internal clinicians conduct clinical research as part of the design process.)

Takeaway

Apple has the goal of creating a culture where health is seen as an everyday thing by using its technology.

“One of the biggest advantages at Apple is the fact that our customers use our devices throughout the day and we see this as a responsibility, as well as an the opportunity to collect evidence-based, actionable health information using their devices in order to facilitate learning,” Desai said.

However, not all people have to keep track of and save their health information to live a healthy lifestyle.

“You don’t have to use technology to know whether you’re doing an excellent work with your health or life style,” Tadwalkar said. “Sometimes the tried-and-true methods of following the most current and solid guidance from your doctor is sufficient.”

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