Apple: At the WWDC 2021 keynote, Apple previewed the features of iOS 15 that provide users with advanced health information and new tools from Apple that allow them to support their loved ones with health.
iOS 15, which will take the health features of iPhone and Apple Watch even further, allows users to securely share their data with people who have an important place in their lives, such as a family member or doctor, and receive information about their loved ones’ health trends, according to Apple. In addition, iOS 15 includes new tools to identify, measure, and understand changes in a person’s health data.
“We’ve had a year that highlights the importance of health, and we help our users play a more active role in their health. To help users better understand how health trends change over time, we’ve added powerful features that provide the most comprehensive insights.” said Jeff Williams, Apple COO. “Many people in the world have their health trackers, and we want to provide users with a secure, privacy-protecting way so they can have a trusted companion on their health journey. We are excited to bring these groundbreaking tools directly to users.”
With iOS 15, users can choose to securely share their health data with a loved one. Thus, by following important warnings and changes over time, they can have more meaningful conversations and support each other even from a distance.
The new Sharing tab in the Health app allows users to share their data with a relative or health officer while protecting their privacy. From an elderly parent sharing activity or heart health data with a family member, to a partner sharing fertile timeframe information, or people with Parkinson’s sharing their mobility data with their physical therapist, users have complete control over what data they share with whom. For the person receiving this data, the shared data is presented with key information and highlighted trends.
Sharing meaningful information about daily activities with the doctor during a doctor’s visit is an important part of managing health; but sometimes it can be difficult to remember details. With the user’s permission, the Health app tracks all this valuable information, acting as a bridge between personal experiences and clinical appointments. Now, users in the US can share certain health data with their doctor, such as heart rate, perceived falls, sleep time or exercise time, to better explain their condition. At participating healthcare institutions, physicians can review Apple Health app data that the user chooses to share directly with the electronic health data system.
The Health app adds trend analysis for more than 20 data types, from resting heart rate to sleep to cardio fitness level, so that the user can easily see the change in a particular metric. Keeping track of small health changes that can easily be overlooked is an important part of managing personal health. The Trends feature intelligently and proactively highlights key changes and presents data in an easy-to-understand way for users who want to monitor the course of their data over time.
Users can also track their goals, such as increasing running distance or awareness moments. Trend analysis is also available for data from third-party devices connected to the Health app for users who want to monitor data such as insulin delivery.
Long-term changes in health are shown in Trends with optional notifications. So users can celebrate their progress towards a specific goal or talk to a doctor or healthcare provider about it.
More than 37 million people require medical attention as a result of falls each year. The event of a fall can be a critical threshold, often linked to more serious health problems and loss of independence. The industry’s first Walk Stability feature on iPhone captures important mobility data as users walk with their iPhone, providing information about fall risk. Today, the risk of falling is evaluated by health professionals through questionnaires and one-on-one evaluations. The Walking Balance feature records daily movements and presents Good, Low, or Very Low classifications in the Health app, so users can take action to reduce the risk of falling.
This feature uses proprietary algorithms to evaluate balance, stability, and coordination through the built-in motion sensors in iPhone. This first-of-its-kind metric was created with real-life data collected during the Apple Heart and Movement Health Study, involving more than 100,000 people of all age groups. This is the largest dataset ever used to study fall risk.
The Walking Stability feature not only warns of a potential fall risk, it also helps users achieve their stability goals. Users can choose to receive notifications when their balance scores are Low or Very Low, or they can be prompted to perform visual exercises based on clinically validated methods to increase strength and balance.
Privacy is fundamental to the design and development of all Apple’s health features. Health data is under the user’s control and the user chooses details such as which data types are shared with whom. Data is encrypted in transit and kept secure when locked on the user’s device with a passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID. Apple does not have access to the data when the user decides to share this data with a relative or doctor.
Other Apple Health Updates
Health Records’ improved lab experience on iPhone is now easier for users to review test results. Users can view highlighted information, pin the results they care about most, see if assay results fall within the normal range, and access educational content about common laboratory assays in the USA.
Along with watchOS 8, Apple Watch can also measure respiratory rate (breaths per minute) during sleep. Users can also find this data in the Health app and choose to receive notifications if a meaningful trend is identified.
The new Mindfulness app in watchOS 8 refreshes the deep breathing experience and also offers a new easy way to maintain your inner balance and calm. Breathing sessions provide users with more opportunities to slow down and focus, and have a new animation. Users also have access to new Thinking sessions that offer a new way to increase awareness by helping to focus on positive thoughts.
With iOS 15, users around the world have the option to store their vaccination records and test results directly in the Health app. Even if a vaccine provider or medical service center does not support the Health Records feature, users can download COVID-19 vaccine information or test results and access these documents easily at any time using an online browser or QR code.