In most countries, the population is getting older. The baby boomers have been forced to look at their own mortality and don’t always like what they see. Health apps, as a result, have been stepping up their game and working hard to extend and improve lives for millions of ageing citizens.
The latest and perhaps most impressive additions have been from Apple and Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Apple has partnered with health insurance provider Aetna to help empower providers to make faster and fairer decisions. One of the major limitations for businesses such as Aetna in the past has been the need to gather medical information and verification from practitioners. A process that is expensive, slow and often frustrating. It costs the firm money and slows delivery for the client. The theory is that an Apple watch feeding – somehow verifiable – information. Verifiable being the operative word due to the fact that the watch will somehow need to know that the right person is feeding it the information.
Meanwhile, Google has decided that health wearables shouldn’t be limited to watches and glasses. They are in the process of developing a shoe that can measure distance, weight and other vitals. Why does this matter? Because wearables that become part of your wardrobe – without the need for additional items – makes life easier and information more reliable. Improved information means that sharing data – in the way Aetna and Apple are doing – becomes even more trustworthy than it already is.
In this, health data will move from being basic, requiring many assumptions, to a genuine science that can lead to tangible and exciting opportunities for users. Doctors can be provided real information, live from a patient, over the last few weeks, rather than having to ask someone without medical training to describe symptoms.
The future for health tech looks bright.