Doctors speak out against Apple's HealthKit

Doctors speak out against Apple's HealthKit
Apple's HealthKit will help you monitor certain metrics captured by sensors found on the iPhone, third party fitness wearables, and the Apple iWatch (whenever it gets released). But is it really a good idea for the public to so easily have access to readings such as heart rate, blood pressure and even blood glucose? There are many Doctors who believe that the answer is "no."

One such M.D. is Dr. Dushan Gunasekera, whose practice is in London. His concern is that the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. As a result, he does not see any reputable Doctor as being able to look at your phone to make a proper diagnosis. He also worries about the interpretation of the readings by the general public. "There is certainly a risk that people will see a sharp dip in one of their graphs, and interpret that as a big problem, when in fact the reading could still fall within a normal range," said the Doctor.

Add to that worry, a concern from Dr. Rakesh Kapila. He is another London based Doctor, who was trained by the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. Dr. Kapila fears that HealthKit users could develop an unhealthy obsession with the readings. He suggests that HealthKit and other health related apps, tell users when their readings suggest that further action is required. This will prevent users from having their imagination blow up a minor ailment into a terminal illness.

There are some people that will benefit greatly from HealthKit, says Dr. Gunasekera. Diabetics might be able to monitor their blood glucose readings without having to draw blood each time. Certain sensors can be implanted under the skin that would send continuous readings to HealthKit, which can then warn diabetics if their glucose reading is too high, requiring an injection of insulin. Perhaps more importantly, an alarm can go off if a user's glucose reading is too low, which could lead to the insulin-dependent diabetic passing out. This warning would give the user time to consume a sugary drink or food, in order to prop up his glucose reading.

Pregnant women are another group that could benefit from a health related app. Monitoring the heart rate could help determine if the fetus is doing well.

What needs to be avoided are users treating their health readings as  stock prices, with their emotions changing with every up and down tick. A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous when it comes to your health.

source: Forbes



1. Nokia99

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Damn thats interesting!!! PS I was being sarcastic

2. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

Health changes thing is certain Doctors....u won't be there after the appointment... But the phone will.....boom.

39. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I assume boom was used to symbolize an exploding iphone in your comment otherwise it was largely pointless. The accuracy of the iphone/iwatch needs to be very high otherwise it is going to be just a gimmick. Apple wants to make it a medical device so it better have that level of accuracy.

51. mshahsavar

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 24, 2014

It is sad that you like many still do not understand that this is a journey not a destination. You either believe Apple thinks longer term or not and there is no point arguing with those who do not get it. There are many doctors but there are damn bad ones too and even worth there are many in Heath care who would sell their sole for the mighty $.

54. parthoman

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

i would also sell my sole, unless you meant soul :D

3. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I would still trust a doctor more than my phone

19. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

Hope u got a good doctor. If phones become accurate medical'll give doctors a run for their money. They also rely on technology.

33. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

That will never happen

34. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2488; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Not for a long long time. The people who use their phones for a medical diagnosis are probably the same types of people that diagnose themselves using the "Symptom Checker" on Web M.D.

52. mshahsavar

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 24, 2014

You are now against people dedicating themselves!!! How does a fragmented healthcare good for the patients? How is this fragmented system helps healthy people stay healthy? Why are these doctors against the system instead of coming up with ideas how this can be made better? Why are they frightened from? The crappy expensive totally unresponsive to the needs of people was not built overnight and the solution will not happen overnight. How accurate are the doctors and labs measurement tools? They are not verified as often you think just quietly ask a doctor friend of yours. Last but not least, Apple's Healthkit is not about the devices that do the measuring, this is about providing a secure database to maintain data from multiple sources. How on earth would this worry you? I guess you would rather have incomplete fragmented data stores, no history and little or not trend. Message to Doctors: starting caring for your patients as they are going to be better educated and will expect more and they will be able to shop more easily for healthcare in the near future.

57. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Neither Dr. Kapila or Dr. Gunasekera are against HealthKit. They both actually provided awesome examples of how useful HealthKit can be in the future. If you actually read the article, you'll see that they're more worried about HOW it's implemented so that the patients are protected i.e. "This will prevent users from having their imagination blow up a minor ailment into a terminal illness," which by the way happens ALLLLL the time. If you look at private companies like 23andMe, you'll see that the FDA has mandated that they no longer provide genetic reports and diagnostic information for public safety. Why? Because the information they provide is not always accurate. And when the information is accurate people freak out and always manage to convince themselves that they're for sure getting X or Y genetic disease. The whole thing is chaotic and actually CAUSES problems and misinformation, which trained medical specialists have to deal with and try to erase when they finally come into their offices. There's nothing wrong with any of their criticism/recommendations. I think people are just trippin out because doctors make a crapton of money and therefore somehow they're automatically flawed.

56. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

And yet most of these people eventually end up scheduling an appointment with their physicians anyway... Even with huge online databases like Web M.D., primary care doctors are still extremely high in demand. Also, a simple internet search can show normal and abnormal values for quite literally every vital/metric you can think of AND the consequences to your health. If the internet isn't able to "give doctors a run for their money" then HealthKit won't either.

4. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 2014

Click bait!

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You took the bait then :D

10. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 2014

Yeah...that's how I can say it's clickbait #stoopid

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You mad bro?

16. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 2014

No, cuz Elves > jedi, dark or otherwise! Bahahaha #SamsungKnights

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yeah, you mad bro :D

26. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I think he's in extreme damage control lol.

29. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Totally Mxy. I mean, why click a click bait article, especially an Apple when you dislike Apple, then comment lol

46. Python212

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 13, 2014

How come this darkkcowardd guy always starts with everyone? He exits like a true coward when he gets exposed. According to this darkkcowardd, I'm a lair LOL

5. mturby unregistered

This feature needs to be approved by FDA before the general public can take advantage of it. But it might be useful though. Furthermore the gov should require IOS users to sign a waiver prior the purchase of an iPhone if this feature is included already, so they don't depend on it too much.

13. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Do we sign waivers when walking into a hospital when "doctors" pump infinite drugs into our system hoping the problem they "guess" is correct will go away? It's a business for the hospital, and they will be losing countless dollars for simple diagnostics to doctors that OPT in on contacting you for a talk when you schedule a medical encounter via Health Kit. I smell scared corporations

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I can't believe he said sign a waiver before buying an iPhone, and that the Govt should mandate it. Some people take things to serious.

21. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

I like you :)

53. mshahsavar

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 24, 2014

Well done... There are so many spreading twisted lies..

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

How do you know it hasn't already been FDA approved, and signing a waiver before buying the phone? Dude really lol?

6. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Those doctors are just butthurt because HealthKit and other health monitoring apps are eventually going to put them out of business...

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Not even the slightest chance of that happening. A blue whale will run for office first.

22. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

There was a study done that showed about 50% of the various medical staff positions could be eliminated with computers/AI. While the medical industry and doctors will fight tooth and nail to hang on to their golden ticket franchise, eventually many staff positions and many entry level doctors will be replaced by computers and (much cheaper) nurses and physician assistants.

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