This year, Apple had some things to talk about that have a direct impact on digital health, telemedicine, and the virtual hospital.
Privacy Matters More Than Ever
One of the biggest issues that Apple addressed at WWDC 2019 is the notion of privacy in the 21st century. This issue affects anyone that uses a computer for any reason. People now use computers for everything from staying in touch with friends to, in the case of digital health patients, having confidential medical health data collected and relayed to appropriate medical professionals to make an accurate diagnosis.
However, digital information is easily accessible, and while it’s up to software companies to exercise their own sense of professional ethics and respect privacy, some don’t. Facebook, for example, has routinely collected all kinds of confidential data about its users that it then sells to advertisers and other markets looking for good metrics on approaching customers.
Apple stressed that continuing to ignore privacy issues is not the way to go. In 2019 and beyond they are making more commitments to protecting user privacy, something that is legally crucial for medical data that needs to remain HIPPA compliant, and protect American’s private medical data.
The Health App Evolves
Another major digital health-related announcement at WWDC 2019 are changes to the Apple Watch Health App. Some key features are now being tweaked, such as the ability to track data just from the last 90 days alone instead of the last 365 only. Machine learning will now track which metrics users are the most interested into better present the data that matters to them.
New metrics are also being added, such as decibel level tracking for people concerned with hearing issues. A women’s cycle tracking feature will now also be coming to the app to better focus on women’s health concerns. All of these digital health changes are going to be coming to both iOS and Apple Watch so that users on different platforms will get access to the same health tracking benefits.