Apple’s health advances include sharing data with loved ones and preventing falls

Apple has introduced new health and wellness features for users that build on the existing health platform of iPhone and Apple Watch that can not only monitor our health and share health data with loved ones.

iOS 15 will make it possible to share your health information with a family member or caregiver so they can receive insights and notifications about the health trends of their loved ones.

“This past year has emphasised the importance of health, and we’re enabling our users to take a more active role in their wellbeing,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

“We’ve added powerful features that give users the most comprehensive set of insights to better understand their health trends over time.

“Many people around the world are caring for someone, and we want to provide a secure and private way for users to have a trusted partner on their health journey. We’re excited to bring these innovative tools directly into users’ hands.”

HEALTH SHARING

One new feature of iOS 15 is Health Sharing.

This allows users to securely provide visibility into their health and Wellness data to a loved one and enable them to provide support as they follow alerts and changes over time.

Users can privately share their data with a trusted partner or caregiver.

You have full control over the data you share whether you’re an aging parent granting access to heart health data or activity with your child or a person with Parkinson’s disease who wants to share mobility data with a physiotherapist.

TRENDS

The Health app can now allow users to choose a metric – ranging from resting heart rate to sleep to cardio fitness – and monitor how it is progressing.

Tracking changes in health, even if they are quite subtle, is a critical part of wellness.

It’s also possible to set goals like increasing running distance or mindful minutes.

Trend analysis will also apply to data from third party devices that are connected to the Health app.

WALKING STEADINESS

Apple is introducing Walking Steadiness on iPhone to offer insights into fall risk by capturing important mobility data as users walk with their iPhone.

There are more than 37 million people each year that require medical attention as the result of a fall.

This is often an indicator of a more serious condition and a loss of independence.

At present a fall risk is assessed by a care provider asking questions during an in-person evaluation.

Walking Steadiness will use customised algorithms to assess balance stability and co-ordination using the built-in motion sensors on the iPhone.

This is the first of its kind metric and was established using real world data from the Apple Heart and Movement study of more than 100,000 participants across all ages.

Additional Health and Wellness Updates

– An enhanced labs experience comes to Health Records on iPhone, making it easier for users to review their results. Users can view highlights, pin results that may matter most to them and see whether labs are within range.

– With watchOS 8, Apple Watch measures respiratory rate — the number of breaths per minute — during sleep. Users can review this information in the Health app and be notified if a meaningful trend has been identified.

– The new Mindfulness app in watchOS 8 includes a refresh of the deep-breathing experience, as well as another simple way to stay centred and calm. Breathe sessions give users more opportunities to slow down and focus and feature a new animation. Users also have access to new Reflect sessions, a way to be more mindful that helps them focus on positive thoughts.

– In iOS 15, users worldwide have an additional option for storing medical records of immunisations and test results directly in the Health app. Now, even if a vaccine provider or medical location doesn’t currently support the Health Records feature, it can allow patients to download verifiable COVID-19 vaccination or test result records from an online browser or QR code, so they can easily access them at any time.

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