John Halamka, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston has an interesting post on his blog about Apple’s big unveiling yesterday and its implications for connected health applications.
With the image of naked Jennifer Lawrence still fresh in our minds, Halamka points out that Apple is taking steps to make sure no such slip-ups happen in the context of protected health information – a promising new market for wearable technology.
As Halamka sees it, we’re on the cusp of revolution that will see the consumerization of what he calls “healthcare middleware.” That refers to software and services, like Apple’s recently announced HealthKit, that aggregates data about your body from multiple sensors in your clothing, your body and environment.
Unlike the nude selfies that recently made the rounds online, however, health data is protected by Federal legislation – HIPAA. For that reason, Apple keeps that data local to the mobile device owned and operated by the patient or the care provider. In fact, it has specifically changed its policies so that health data is never replicated to iCloud, Halamka writes. Data remains on your device under your control and there’s no (Apple-provided) function to transmit data off the device.
[Read more Security Ledger coverage of connected health topics here.]
“The intent of Healthkit is that it serves as middleware, consolidating data and providing a container to share data with other apps that you specifically trust,” Halamka writes.
The effect may be to democratize the medical device and medical applications marketplace. Halamka mentions that BIDMC is working on a mobile application that can monitor patient data and determine when intervention by a home health aide or physician might be needed. The hospital is using privately donated funds to do so.