Now Apple is targeting digital health. They have a Health App that has been helping users to track the health-related data that was important to them. However, until now, they had been ignoring one major aspect of digital health; the women’s experience.
Cycle Tracking Now Enabled
With a new update to the Health App, this “healthware” will now better accommodate that huge demographic of the market, women. A new feature is being implemented into Apple’s Watch OS6 that will allow women to track their menstrual cycle. Apple, however, seems to be exercising far more care in what this software can and can’t do for women.
Other software companies in the past have created similar software because they also saw a huge need in the market that wasn’t being addressed. However, some of these companies, such as Natural Cycles, made claims that the tracking healthware could be used for natural birth control, a claim quickly dispelled by unwanted pregnancies occurring when women used the software as intended.
More Accuracy, Not Diagnosis
Apple’s digital health application for tracking the menstrual cycle is not making this same claim. Instead, it is an added feature that allows women to gain a more precise understanding of the ways their body reacts to a natural biological function. It is intended to provide more guidance on when women should think about buying more sanitary products, or even pain killers, rather than relying on it to avoid pregnancy. With proper usage, the Health App can eventually provide notifications about certain events in the menstrual cycle, though these should never be relied on as 100% accurate medical diagnoses.
Of course, with information this sensitive, there is also a concern about privacy. Something as confidential as a woman’s menstrual activity is not something that anyone wants publicly shared, let alone sold to companies to be part of their marketing campaign. Apple has always been committed to protecting user privacy, but this becomes an even bigger issue when it comes to sensitive personal information like health data.