Reuters has learned Apple is talking to more healthcare providers to beef up its HealthKit service, but Apple will have to satisfy consumers' privacy cconcerns and several regulators. Fred Katayama reports.
Apple is beefing up its "HealthKit" today to keep competitors at bay. That's the service it's developing that will allow health and fitness apps to work together. Reuters has learned the iPhone maker is talking to leading hospitals like Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic and electronic health records provider Allscripts to explore how they can work with HealthKit. Cleveland Clinic says it's experimenting with it and providing feedback. Apple has already tied up with the likes of Nike, data provider Epic, and the Mayo Clinic. As of now, health data from medical devices and software apps aren't centrally stored. Apple wants to put all of that in one place so consumers and healthcare providers can see that more easily. But getting all that together for mobile use won't be easy because Apple will have to confront consumer privacy concerns and satisfy at least half a dozen regulators. HealthKit is expected to be incorporated into the iPhone 6 that comes out in September. Apple's competitors include archrival Samsung, whose latest smartphones and smartwatches can monitor your heart rate and how far you've walked, among other things. One thing that doesn't look too healthy: Apple's and Samsung's sales in emerging markets. Fitch Ratings predicts cheaper handsets from Asian rivals such as Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei and Micromax will steal market share from both of them next year, especially Samsung's.