Apple HealthKit Continues To Gain Support From Medical Field

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Since its launch, Apple’s HealthKit has been continuously gaining support from the medical community, with at least 14 top U.S. hospitals starting trial programs to integrate Apple’s health data service. The latest is the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

During the past weekend, the LA hospital added HealthKit support in its patient records systems, allowing its doctors access to synchronized data from various health and fitness apps that support Apple’s platform. One potentially controversial aspect of such integration, however, is that use of HealthKit data is opt-out, rather than opt-in. Furthermore, patients will simply have to cease using HealthKit-enabled apps if they wish to opt out.


JCPenney and Shopkick Inspire Cinderella Moments for Consumers

JCPenney has tapped into the ever-growing trend to combine mobile and retail to stay relevant amongst competing ecommerce and mcommerce channels. Consumers who visit JCPenney will notice an array of Cinderella-themed merchandise for promotion of the latest Disney movie.  The retail chain has partnered with mobile app, Shopkick, in an effort to create buzz and boost foot traffic in their stores.

The Lab took a visit to JCPenney to discover just how this brick-and-mortar store is using mobile to drive traffic into the store.  What we found were various plaques decorating the store that read: “Use the Shopkick app as your magic wand for a chance to win JCPenney gift cards to complete your own Cinderella look”.  Consumers can then scan a barcode and gain “kicks” that lead to discounts.

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A unique discovery we also uncovered—Shopkick promotes healthy living. After chatting with other consumers participating in the magic, we found that some users are motivated to get out and walk as opposed to taking the NYC subway just to gain more kicks by passing storefronts.

Event Recap: Fall 2014 IoT Fair

The evolution of the IoT has transformed the way people interact with physical objects in their everyday life, and how these objects interact with other devices like sensors, smartphones, and tablets. The Fall 2014 Internet of Things (IoT) Fair was a great way to experience products from both established and early stage companies. Each company demonstrated their solution, trade-show style, to roughly 500 enthusiastic IoTers. The companies spanned across several categories, but these stood out:
  • Basic6 gives users a cloud-based infrastructure for real-time monitoring, deployment, and management of IoT devices.
  • Kinsa uses a smartphone-enabled thermometer to monitor symptoms and track illness for users and their doctors.
  • Ottomate reduces a home’s electrical cost through its self-programming home automation system.
  • Octopart allows engineers and part buyers to easily access part information, design, manufacturing, and cost through its search engine.
  • Bluesmart gives travelers the ability to locate, lock, and weigh their suitcase directly from their smartphone.

As consumers get more comfortable using smart devices we expect more such platforms to enter the market.


Sector Spotlight: Quantified Health

One of the more interesting segments of the Quantified Self ecosystem involves health tracking. As platforms like Apple’s Healthkit and Google Fit begin to outline the new marketplace, Quantified Health could become a vital part of the connected self’s daily routine, as well as a new media channel through which brands can communicate with consumers. Here is just a small sample of health-tracking products going far beyond activity tracking.

What is Quantified Health?

Quantified Health is the sector of the market of wearables, apps, and sensors that monitor the way a user’s body and lifestyle perform on a daily basis. This creates data that can provide feedback on activity, leading to a positive impact on the way a person lives.


Sensoria is a line of “smart garments” with sensors embedded in the fabric. Socks can track common activities—step counts, speed, distance—but also can understand gait and foot placement to accurately analyze walking or running patterns. Its shirts and sports bras can function as an extension to a heart rate monitor. All of the products sync with a mobile device via Bluetooth.


Bellabeat is a suite of devices to intelligently track a pregnancy. The company offers a stylish wristband that tracks an expectant mother’s activity, stress, nutrition and sleep quality. Additionally, Bellabeat manufactures a non-ultrasound pregnancy monitor that can record and share a baby’s heartbeat, as well as send music to the baby in the womb. Rounding out the suite is a smart scale for both the mother and the baby.


There are a few meditation wearables on the market, but they usually come as part of a larger fitness package. Muse is the only meditation headband that we’ve come across — its sensors detect brainwaves, like a miniature EEG machine. The app provides goals for relaxation sessions, which are meant to reduce the intensity of brainwave patterns.

What opportunities does Quantified Health present to advertisers?

The advertising potential in Quantified Health products could open an entirely new channel to consumers. Apps can deliver branded content emphasizing fitness and health as users begin to integrate the technology into their lifestyle, and the surplus of data will present a more granular picture of demographics and user identities. Finally, the technology itself can be used to drive users toward purchase, with in-app marketplaces or deals.

3 Implications Of Apple’s New Health Apps

Part dev kit and part health app, the HealthKit announced back in June marked Apple’s official foray into the field of health care. But today the company fully revealed its grand plan with two separate health-centric apps—Activity and Workout. These new developments will affect consumers in three key areas:

1. They will boost the wearable fitness trend

Since constant data gathering is crucial to the HealthKit’s success, it makes sense that Apple is releasing the Apple Watch. As the phones get bigger, it’s especially important to have an unobtrusive device assisting the health monitoring.

2. They will usher in a new era of the “quantified self 

Apple’s push for self-monitoring will certainly further the current trend towards “quantified self”, in which people use technology to collect data in order to improve their own lives.  We’ve seen a number of wearables and apps measure fitness, sleep, and more, but Apple’s ecosystem will undoubtedly make the biggest splash.

3. They will help Apple to become the hub for health data

Apple was reportedly in serious talks with major healthcare providers to convince them to adopt HealthKit, which would in turn make Apple a central “hub of health data”. Judging by Apple’s wording today, it seems like they are still in deep negotiation with the health care industry for further infiltration. Just as the iPod revolutionized the music industry a decade ago, there is little doubt that that Apple is looking to repeat its success in the healthcare field.


Why Apple Restricted Health Data For Medical Purpose Only

With the introduction of its HealthKit, Apple is set to become the “centralized hub of health data”. But marketers shouldn’t get too excited: Apple’s updated app store guidelines restrict the data gathered from HealthKit API to medical, fitness, or research proposes only, and prohibits it from being used for advertising or other data-mining purposes. This move is understandable due to patient privacy concerns.

Partner Spotlight: Higi

Higi is  reinventing the in-store health kiosk experience with a hardware solution aimed at bringing quantified self to the masses.  We first met them at SXSW over a year ago and they’ve expanded rapidly, most notably closing a deal this month with IZ-ON Media that will put their hardware stations in 10,000 locations— including 4,100 Rite Aids and 1,800 Publix stores.  Higi refers to their target market as “Pre-Quantified Self” consumers.

What is Pre-Quantified Self?

The Quantified Self movement is exactly what it sounds like: people using technology to gather data about themselves throughout the day so they can improve their own lives.  We’ve seen a number of wearables and apps catch on in this space to measure fitness, sleep, and more, including products from Fitbit, Jawbone, GeoPalz, Withings, and Basis.  Consumers adopting these technologies tend to already be tech savvy, but Higi’s goal is to onboard less gadget-minded people into the world of quantified self by introducing them to the category in supermarkets and pharmacies.  They refer to this broad target audience as “Pre-Quantified Self.”

How does Higi work?

Higi stations typically live in the pharmacy department and allow you to weigh yourself (by sitting on the unit’s bench), take your blood pressure, and input basic information like height and age.  Once your information is collected, you’re given a Higi score— a number that indicates the general state of your health.  You set up an account at the machine and are encouraged to download the companion mobile app to continue tracking and improving your health in the future.  The app allows you to include information about a variety of activities, including your dietary habits.

What opportunities do Higi stations present for advertisers?

With a regular flow of people taking their blood pressure in-store, Higi stations literally deliver a captive audience, and advertisers have the opportunity to serve video ads on two screens within the station— one at the eye level for people sitting and another at eye level for shoppers walking by.  Higi’s deal with IZ-ON Media will allow brands to easily target consumers at scale while they interact with the stations.  The machines are also outfitted with the capability to print information, and in the future it’s likely that brands will be able to offer coupons to users tailored to their health needs.

Russian Subways Take Squats As Payment

In a clever campaign in anticipation of the 2014 Olympics, Russian subways have begun accepting squats – yes, like squats at the gym – as a genuine form of payment. The machine, which presumably uses a Kinect, can tell if you’re cheating and requires 30 proper squats before letting you through. It’s another example of innovative, out-of-home interactive experiences engaging with different populations, even if it’s for a government-sponsored program, and plays into the larger health and fitness trend of keeping people fit. 

Twitter And Everyday Health Deliver Sponsored Health Alerts

When we think of diagnostic tools, stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors may come to mind, but how about Twitter? According to Everyday Health, the publisher will partner with Twitter to mine health-related tweets to identify impending outbreaks and respond with tailored Twitter alerts.  What’s more is the opportunity to have particular brands sponsor these notifications. With the amount of data from Twitter to Nike Fuelband, the healthcare industry is going through a digital revolution as we become more sophisticated about predicting health outcomes and offering personalized care. A search for “quantified self” is all you need to get started.