Apple's CareKit as an enabler for patient-generated healthcare data

"The desktop is dead. The phone is the future."
By John Halamka
10:51 AM
Share

As we move from fee for service to alternative payment models/value-based purchasing we will increasingly measure our progress based on outcomes and total medical expense.

HealthKit was an enabler that led Beth Israel Deaconess to create BIDMC@Home, an iPhone and iPad app that uploads internet of things (blood pressure cuff, glucometer, scale, activity, sleep data etc.) to our electronic health record.

CareKit, announced by Apple this week, takes us one step further on our wellness-focused journey.

[Also: Apple unveils CareKit health tracking platform, first app is for Parkinsons]

Our vision is that objective data such as weight and blood pressure needs to be combined with subjective data such as activities of daily living, mood, and adherence to care plans in order to create a true measure of outcome.

If you take your beta blocker for blood pressure control but feel listless and unmotivated, that is not a good outcome.

Apple’s middleware (HealthKit, ResearchKit, CareKit) has enabled us to connect devices in BIDMC patient homes and this summer will enable us to collect answers to clinician generated questionnaires with dashboarding of the subjective and objective combined results.

We believe that mobile devices such as iPhones will become the predominant means by which patients interact with BIDMC. Your phone will be the repository of your medical record, the means by which you collaborate with your provider, and the vehicle for submission of data to your care team.

Today, 80 percent of all BIDMC publicly available resources (websites, portals) are accessed via mobile devices. The desktop is dead. The phone is the future.

Kudos to Apple for enabling simple integration of devices in the home, collection of patient provided questionnaires, and bidirectional exchange of care plans.

I know that the current FBI/Apple security issues are controversial, but if we’re going to use the phone as the means for patients to coordinate healthcare, we need to ensure data integrity. I support the idea of government entities obtaining cloud-based backups of devices when courts grant subpoenas.

I do not support the idea of compromising the integrity of phones when they are serving as the link between patient devices/patient sourced  healthcare data and providers.

The combination of sensors in the home, patient/family engagement, and security/data integrity is the secret to success in alternative payment models. We look forward to piloting several new apps in 2016.