Privacy, Selling Data are Major Concerns for Mobile Health Apps


The app Lark expects Apple Watch will have great success, and it is one of more than a dozen health developers focused on creating new apps for the Apple Watch. The Apps range from medication management to a button that provides immediate access to a doctor.

Apple has recruited ResearchKit and HealthKit to work on fitness plan improvements for the watch. Moreover, Apple has implemented measures to ensure the consumer is in control of the health information shared with third party apps. Health data that is collected via the Apple Watch or the iPhone is stored on Apple's HealthKit. Apple leaves your HealthKit data on the device, which prevents third-party app developers from selling your health data without your consent.

Developers hope that the Apple Watch will eventually improve how physicians and patients communicate. Gutman, CEO of HealthTap, has developed three apps for Apple Watch: one to manage your medications, one that connects you to a doctor, and one that helps physicians reach new patients. Moreover, WebMD launched an Apple Watch app to help with medication adherence. The app reminds people to take their medication, and instructs them whether to take the medication with food or not. A few other companies that are focused on managing medications include MangoHealth and Walgreens.

Other developers are targeting doctors that seek out the AppleWatch to help them manage an overload of patient information. Drchrono, an EHR company, developed an Apple Watch app that allows doctors to receive alerts, such as when a patient has arrived.

Privacy experts and policymakers are very concerned about developers that collect and sell personal health information. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission claims that developers of 12 mobile health and fitness apps were sharing user information with 76 different parties. Apple is subduing concerns by preventing the sale of the health data that Apple devices collect to advertisers.

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