Industry wary of Apple Watch

Apple unleashed its Apple Watch yesterday, an event marked by fans of the Cupertino, CA tech giant, and general tech enthusiasts. Healthcare industry watchers were also on alert because the watch has the promise of  bridging wearable health trackers and technological finesse through its Healthkit app.

Despite the promise—wearables such as those made by Fitbit and Jawbone are visibly embraced—the impact health monitors have on consumer habits and on patient-physician relationships has yet to be quantified.

Greg Caressi, healthcare and life sciences VP for consultancy Frost & Sullivan, tells HealthData Management, for example, that the target audience is already pretty healthy, and that “the real impact on healthcare and healthcare costs in the US will come in the near term through disease management solutions that expand the reach of information flow to clinicians from the high risk and at-risk individuals who suffer from chronic disease conditions.”

WebMD's Healthy Target app is an example of an app focused on these very patients (and works with Healthkit), giving advice and feedback about a variety of health-related metrics and activities such as glucose levels, activity and sleep patterns, all of which could be shared with doctors during a visit.

Modern Healthcare notes that tech is not enough to make a dent in behavior, noting that a survey of 500 consumers found that, “health and fitness ranks near the bottom in terms of reasons” to purchase the watch. MH's summary: “Some question whether the Apple Watch can truly nudge consumers into better health.”