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Apple announces plans for Health app, cloud

Tim CookSAN FRANCISCO – Apple announced that it will jump into the health information business with the upcoming launch of a new health app and a cloud-based health information platform. The new app, called simply “Health,” will collect a number of body metrics including blood pressure, heart rate, and stats on diet and exercise.

Chief executive Tim Cook (pictured) announced that Health will be part of the new iOS 8, to be released in the fall. (iOS 8 will also let you control connected smart home gear such as garage doors, smart light bulbs and door locks, and other internet-connected devices that comply with an Apple specification.)

Health will constantly monitor key health metrics (like blood sugar or blood pressure), and if any of them begin to move outside the healthy range, the app will automatically send a notification to the user’s doctor.

The Health app will share all its information with a new cloud platform called “HealthKit.” The new health cloud platform is designed to act as a global repository for all the user’s health information. It will accept data collected by a variety of third-party devices and apps. For instance Nike is now working to make its health and fitness apps integrate with HealthKit.

And Apple didn’t forget to loop in the health care system to participate in the new platform. The company worked with doctors at the Mayo Clinic to devise ways for healthcare providers to access and add to patient information in HealthKit.

Apple also has been working with the computer-based patient records company Epic, along with a large group of hospitals, to figure out how HealthKit data can be made available to hospital information systems.

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