September 5, 2014

APPLE’S new HealthKit app promises to put all your health and fitness data neatly into one place.

But will having all this information at our fingertips it turn us into a nation of hypocondriacs?

The phone giant’s latest app is part of the new iOS 8, its latest iPhone and iPad operating system, which is believed to become widely available from next week with the rumoured launch of the iPhone 6.

Apple says the Health app collects data on people’s heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar and cholesterol and brings it altogether in one place to give a clear and current overview of a person’s health.

And HealthKit can even allow developers to make their apps access your health data and some of it could be shared with your doctor.

Dr Felix Naughton, Health Psychologist and Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, said on the whole the app could be useful but it would all depend on how people interpret the information.

“We don’t know exactly how people will use these sort of apps,” he said. “Overall when people are alerted to a potential issue or health problem they might have, it usually results in some positive action that may include speaking to a health professional or in many cases searching for information online.

“There are numerous sources of information online with varying levels of accuracy. Another aspect is people’s ehealth literacy – their ability to find and navigate online health information and know which sources are trustworthy and which are dubious.

“It can be positive in terms of prompting people to monitor their own health. If people monitor their behaviour it can be quite a good motivator for making positive changes.”

Dr Naughton said having all health data in one place could be a useful tool.

“Many people like the idea of engaging in health apps but often find it quite burdensome,” he said. “A nice thing about apps that combine data from various different sources is that it takes up much less of a person’s time.”

No one from Apple was available to comment about the new HealthKit by the time the News went to press, but in its promotional material, it says: “With HealthKit, developers can make their apps even more useful by allowing them to access your health data, too. And you choose what you want shared.

“For example, you can allow the data from your blood pressure app to be automatically shared with your doctor.

“Or allow your nutrition app to tell your fitness apps how many calories you consume each day.

“When your health and fitness apps work together, they become more powerful. And you might, too.”

This is not the first time a health app has been created to tackle medical issues.

ChimpShop takes aim at binge-drinking with a game where players have to chase chimps down a supermarket aisle, collecting bananas and other good foodstuffs while avoiding alcoholic drinks.

The app is based on research by addiction expert Professor Miles Cox, which has shown that if we can ‘train’ our brains to pay less attention to boozy stimuli it can lead to a lower alcohol intake.

“In London alone, it is estimated that 2.4 million people drink alcohol at harmful and hazardous levels,” siad founder Chris Hillier.

I don’t think I’m one of those people, and after monkeying around in the ChimpShop for a bit, I don’t know if I’m actually less inclined to drink, but it is a lot of fun.

“In fact, now all I need is an app to rid me of my addiction to iPhone games….”

Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Apple-8217-s-new-HealthKit-app-revolution/story-22883501-detail/story.html#ixzz3CjAut9gg
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Read more at http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Apple-8217-s-new-HealthKit-app-revolution/story-22883501-detail/story.html#JHJtoll8QLgmIYvV.99


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