Juniper: Apple and Samsung can trigger $3b healthcare revolution

Apple and Samsung healthcare APIs have the potential to drive the global healthcare accessory sector onto a new level of revenue that the current crop of companies can only dream of realising.

Read more: Apple HealthKit and other fitness devices raise serious questions

Juniper Research’s “Digital Health: Remote Monitoring, Smart Accessories & EHR Cost Savings 2014-2019” report found the greater visibility that Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI UIs offer will push sales to $3 billion [£1.85 billion] by 2019.

Apple began slowly rolling out its HealthKit API earlier on this year as part of iOS 8 with Samsung’s Sami [Samsung Architecture Multimedia Interactions] platform hitting the market slightly earlier on and report author Anthony Cox thinks both will gazump the companies currently occupying the space.

“As health platforms support more ‘medical’ devices, rather than just today’s fitness trackers, they will usurp the territory occupied by chronic disease monitoring companies,” stated Cox.

ObamaCare, the oft-debated public health system introduced by US President Barack Obama, is another factor that Juniper thinks can have a disruptive effect on the way technology is used by the healthcare industry.

It’s thought ObamaCare will force regulatory authorities to accept the role that digital health has to play and relax restrictions on digital health companies to help bring about wider usage in the healthcare sector. This will, in turn, provide increased impetus for healthcare companies to invest in “major digital healthcare players”, for example Epocrates and AirStrip.

Advanced electronic health records [EHRs], which have been heavily debated in the UK, will become the “glue” to create a wider digital health ecosystem just so long as the regulations are relaxed to let them become more prevalent.

This in mind, the report did warn that widespread trials are still needed in order to convince the healthcare sector to fully embrace remote patient monitoring solutions due to worries over patient data and the reliability of systems.

The issue is one that has been in the news in the UK over the past 12 months after the NHS produced their own risk analysis that admitted creating the £50 million Care.data medical records database has the potential to allow hackers to target patients.

Read more: Can big data keep NHS healthcare free to all?

Care.data will hold information on past illnesses, medication, weight and blood pressure taken from medical records and all households in the UK have the chance to opt out of the scheme before it launches.

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