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Apple's "HealthKit" service may face legal backlash

Apple has been in talks with a number of health providers about how its "HealthKit" service can be useful to health care professionals.

HealthKit, believed to be released this September with the iPhone 6, is expected to be a suite of apps designed to store the user's medical data and provide a diagnostic tool for medical staff.

Read more: Could FDA issues hamper Apple's HealthKit initiative?

Currently data such as blood pressure, heart rate and weight is collected through numerous third-party health care apps, devices and medical tools, but it isn't aggregated..

HealthKit, with the patients consent, will monitor that level of data in between visits to the doctor. The collected data will enable the doctors to have a greater understanding of the condition and make more accurate diagnoses.

Dr William Morris, chief information officer for Cleveland Clinic, has said that they are experimenting with the HealthKit beta and sending usage data back to Apple. Dr Morris also expressed concerns about data protection and users privacy but is "cautiously optimistic" about the service.

HealthKit's collection of data may make some users uncomfortable storing all that personal information in one place, but the service may be restricted by the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA).

Read more: US Federal Trade Commissioner voices fears about data collection by consumer apps

HIPAA is designed to protect personally identifiable health data, for example prescriptions or pre-existing conditions, and needs to be stored and transmitted by a "covered entity." Commentators have been quick highlight the extreme safeguards that Apple need to implement to protect this data.

Google are also entering the health and fitness field with "Google Fit" a platform designed to track health and fitness data. Hopefully Google Fit will be a more successful venture than "Google Health," a service designed as a centralised health information centre which was discontinued in 2012 after the impact wasn't as great as Google hoped.