Stanford, Duke University Start Apple HealthKit Patient Trials

Stanford University Hospital and Duke University are both ramping up for patient trials for Apple's HealthKit platform in iOS 8, and they're working with medical device makers to link health data into HealthKit so it can be transmitted to doctors. Stanford is testing HealthKit-based technology with pediatric patients who suffer from Type 1 diabetes, and Duke University is tracking weight and blood pressure for cancer and heart disease patients.

HealthKit patient trials start at Stanford, DukeHealthKit patient trials start at Stanford, Duke

Apple's HealthKit is an iOS 8 feature that creates a common platform fitness and health tracking device makers can tie into so the data their products collect feeds into a single collection of readings on your iPhone. That data is controlled by the user and is available to healthcare and insurance providers only when permission is explicitly granted.

For doctors, HealthKit could make it much easier to monitor patients outside of clinics because they don't have to rely on people remembering to submit information. They'll potentially get more accurate information, too, since they don't have to deal with the possibility that someone mis-entered heart rate, blood pressure, or other critical health data. Both Stanford and Duke are hoping their trials show higher data accuracy and more efficient delivery to doctors.

Companies such as blood sugar monitor maker DexCom are working with Apple, healthcare providers, and the Food and Drug Administration to offer HealthKit support, according to Reuters. As more device makers come on board, doctors will have a wider range of remote patient monitoring options available.

Apple is pushing HealthKit and its companion Health app for the iPhone and iPod touch as a health and fitness tracking solution for personal and professional use, and teaming with key health care providers is a big part of that strategy. With Stanford and Duke both launching patient trials, Apple is on its way to establishing HealthKit as more than a tool for tracking how far you walk each day and how much you weigh.