It’s Like Having A Doctor In Your Pocket! Welcome To Apple’s New Health App

July 2014: What if, instead of going to the doctor to monitor your health, you pulled out your iPhone? That’s the idea behind Health, the new app from Apple.

Health gathers data from your other health and fitness apps and displays it as a dashboard. You’ll get a snapshot of how you’re doing that you can share with your doctor — who can ping back some advice! Hop on this quick Q&A for more details:

Q: How is Health different from all those other health and fitness apps?
A: Millions of people use Nike FuelBand, Fitbit, Jawbone, Basis and other apps to track exercise, heart rate, sleep patterns, calories, distance traveled — you name it. Use of these apps is growing 87% faster than the rest of the app market. But all the information is stored within each app. Health knocks down those data silos.

Q: Will the apps I currently use work with Health?

A: Apps need to be developed to share their data with Health — current apps won’t. Apple released HealthKit to give developers what they need to be Health-compatable. Check your apps’ webpages for updates!

Q: Do I have to buy extra equipment to use Health?
A: Apps need to be able to gather data about you. This is done via sensors. Some use the motion sensor in your smartphone but most require a sensor in a wearable device like a bracelet, watch or armband. There’s a rumor that Apple will launch iWatch this October.

Q: Where is my Health data stored?

A: Apple says it’s “stored in a centralized and secure location” in the cloud.

Q: Can I keep my Health data completely private?
A: Yes, you control what data Health gathers and who you share it with by using the permissions settings on your device. The medical community is watching closely because of HIPAA compliance and other privacy regulations.

Q: Do doctors like this idea?
A: Definitely — it can be super-efficient for them, too. Apple developed Health with the Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems, a major hospital software company.

Q: What does Health cost?
A: Not a penny — as long as you have an iOS 8 compatible device. Scroll to the bottom of the Apple iOS 8 page for a list.

Q: When can I get Health?
A: Apple says you can leap into iOS 8 this fall. Or if you’re on Android, soon more apps will work with Google Fit, Google’s upcoming health-tracking platform. But keep in mind you can leap into a healthier lifestyle at any time you want!

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