You’ve probably heard recently that some health-related companies are offering select groups of customers deeply discounted Apple Watches as rewards for adhering to long-term exercise plans.
As of March 21, 2016, the scope and range of personal health care just changed once again. Apple recently announced CareKit, the next step in the development of their health-related infrastructure that will undoubtedly begin to change the face of overall healthcare, as we currently know it, and could potentially positively affect employee benefits programs.
What Is CareKit?
CareKit is a new framework used by developers to build self-monitoring health apps that will enable people to play a more active role in their personal healthcare monitoring.
Apple designed the first four modules of CareKit and is encouraging the developer community to take their lead and run with it. Those initial modules of the self-monitoring health app include:
- Care Card – This area of the self-monitoring health app lets individuals track their medication and physical therapy exercises (what Apple calls Action Items). Some of these exercises are tracked using sensors in the AppleWatch, or on the iPhone.
- Symptom and Measurement Tracker – This area of the self-monitoring health app allows a user to record how they’re feeling, what symptoms (if any) they may have, and even quantify their range of motion using the iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometer.
- Insight Dashboard – Apple designed this area of CareKit to show how medical treatments are working by mapping symptoms against action items in the Care Card portion of the app.
- Connect – This fourth module allows patients to share (at their discretion) information about their health or change in health conditions, with family members, doctors, or care teams.
It will be very interesting to see what other developers will come up with to add to Apple’s CareKit design.
How Individual Health Monitoring Affects Our Industry
Having the ability to improve the health of individuals through the use of self-monitoring health apps like CareKit, that offer more accurate and timely data collection of their actionable medical information, will presumably lead to better overall healthcare and inevitably, put less strain on an employer’s employee benefit offerings.
Employees that buy into self-monitoring health apps and adhere to long-term exercise plans should subsequently experience more satisfying health, increased longevity, and as a result, put less demand on healthcare.
This is very promising for our industry and for employers, and Benefit Strategies will be right there, just as we always have been, supporting our customers and their employees.
We are hopeful that through the use of CareKit and other similar self-monitoring health apps that will inevitably hit the market, employees will be able to enjoy considerably lengthier coverage periods offered by their employers.