05 May A Sign of Things to Come in Healthcare Innovation
Post by Stephanie Quilao
In 2007, I was working at Microsoft as an Enthusiast (Consumer) Evangelist when Steve Jobs took to the stage to introduce iPhone to the world. I remember staring at the live stream on my laptop thinking, “Apple wins.” In 8 short years, the iPhone has significantly changed the way we live and work, and has created billion dollar industries.
When Tim Cook took to the stage in 2014 to introduce Apple Watch, I had the exact same feeling as I did back then, “Apple wins…again.” The Apple Watch is not just another wearable, it’s life management from your wrist.
For health and wellness, the Apple Watch elevates the wearables game from being utilitarian to a holistic experience. Creating a healthy life is not just a sum of independent trackable tasks; it’s a bigger picture of our lifestyle.
Here is a simple wellness example. You are working on losing some weight and set a goal to run your first half marathon. With Apple Watch, training and eating becomes a more streamlined experience. You no longer have to be a pack mule carrying food, water, money, keys and iPhone with you on long runs. You can buy food and water and a Starbucks drink along the way using Apple Pay and the Starbucks app. You can use Runkeeper or Strava to track miles, and listen to music, audio books, NPR, and podcasts through a Bluetooth earpiece.
If you get hurt, contact Uber for a ride home or to the hospital. You can make and receive phone calls and texts in case of emergency or need for safety like if you fall and sprain your ankle or some stranger starts stalking you in their car. If you are waiting for a time sensitive email, you can receive and reply to emails while out on a 2-hour run.
If you get a brilliant idea for work or want to document how your body is feeling during your workout, use Evernote to dictate notes. Open up the garage or front door from your watch. Send fun emojis to your training buddies to help them feel supported and motivated. And most convenient, order food from Chipotle and time it to arrive at the house at the same time you do.
During the day, to help you with healthy habits, Cue by Humana can send you nudges to drink water, be conscious of your posture, or take a break from the laptop to go for a walk or meditate. Check your heart rate any time during the day with the heart monitor. For healthy eating, find recipes on Yummly, use the timer for cooking, and use Lifesum to log meals - all from your wrist.
With Apple Watch, you no longer have to carry anything and the apps let you personalize your watch so you can create the experience you want. There is no wearable on the market right now that has the ability to do all this and more in a beautifully designed and holistic way.
From the healthcare industry perspective, the Apple Watch is a collector of big data and another way patients and their doctors and healthcare providers can communicate with each other helping to improve the patient-doctor connection. Mayo Clinic Synthesis helps busy doctors manage their time and provides basic information about their patients. Actionable notifications can be sent to patients for things like reminders to take medications, take at home glucose test, and appointment reminders or changes.
For healthcare developers, Apple offers a full stack software and hardware solution with Health Kit, Research Kit, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. From a developer perspective, this full stack offering makes mobile development manageable, faster and seamless because you are building with one platform where software and hardware are designed to work together from day one. The possibilities for innovation and creativity are without end.
This is just the beginning.
It’s just a matter of time for software and hardware developers as well as fashion and product designers to build an entire ecosystem around the Apple Watch much like what happened with the iPhone.
During the recent HIMSS conference, I was happily surprised to see more Apple Watch announcements than I expected because the healthcare industry tends to be a slower adopter of new technologies. Tongue in cheek, the fax machine is still alive because of the healthcare industry, so to see the adoption of the Apple Watch this early is a meaningful sign of things to come in healthcare innovation.