Is there any good health software available

An Apple a day ... : The business with patient data

Apple is increasingly focusing on health. A sector that is booming. The technology group has now announced that it has bought the start-up Gliimpse. The idea behind it: collect medical records, data and documents - and share them with doctors. A controversial business model. Apple confirmed the purchase rather indirectly: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, we generally do not comment on company decisions," said a spokesman for the US magazine "Fast Company".

Gliimpse enables the user to create a health profile that can be accessed on the go. The treatment history, even X-rays, can be stored and shared. With doctors or insurers, for example. In addition to the administrative function, the program reads medical reports and translates them from technical jargon into "understandable and standardized" language. Industry experts assume that Gliimpse's technology will be incorporated into existing Apple offerings. The company is already represented in the digital health sector with three apps: Research Kit, CareKit and HealthKit. Researchers, doctors and patients are the customers of choice.

After the further development of the three apps, the assumption that Apple would like to capitalize on its wealth of data is growing with the new acquisition. In insider circles, the Californians are already considered to be potentially the largest healthcare company. Detailed behavioral data can be collected from customers via built-in iPhone sensors. How much sport you do, whether you have fallen - the company knows everything. The start-up AliveCor announced that it will supply a measuring tape for the upcoming Apple Watch that is equivalent to an electrocardiogram (EKG).

Software competitor Microsoft also knows about the opportunities in this area. "Digitization has hardly progressed in the healthcare sector, there is a lot of potential," said Thomas Mickeleit, communications director at Microsoft Germany. “We take a close look at the business area: including supply in rural areas and administrative efficiency.” In cooperation with Siemens, the company has been working on HealthVault since 2009 - a patient platform that should bring the same benefits as the Apple acquisition. Were the makers ahead of their time? “So far, the sales figures are still low. As with other cloud-based offers, the US market is more mature, but German demand is increasing, ”said Mickeleit. In order to comply with the data protection regulations applicable in this country in cloud computing, Microsoft has installed large data centers in Magdeburg and Frankfurt am Main. In this way, data “no longer has to leave German soil”.

The transparent patient: Fears of this recently dominated a debate triggered by an app from the Generali insurance company. The principle: insured persons can enter data on their health behavior in “Vitality” and receive a reduction in their life insurance premiums via a points system. Quit smoking, run a marathon and get other rewards straight away. Techniker Krankenkasse is also considering introducing a bonus program with fitness bracelets. Kai Vogel, head of the health team at the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), thinks prevention is important as long as it is not only beneficial for healthy people. "It must be ensured that the solidarity-based health system is not undermined," he said. Vogel generally sees an opportunity in the wave of digitization. But a lot more quality criteria are needed. Health Minister Hermann Gröhe (CDU) told the German Press Agency that there was a general lack of transparency in health apps. In addition, data protection is often not observed.

Consumers view the data collection in two ways: A survey by the market research institute Dr. Grieger & Cie. found that 54 percent of the population would forward the data they collected to insurers. Provided that they receive something in return.

The topic creates a lot of dynamism in the start-up world. In the first half of 2016, EUR 93 million in venture capital was invested in health innovation in Germany. An increase of 900 percent, as a study by the auditing firm Ernst & Young found. The trends are primarily fitness apps, which Kai Vogel from the VZBV calls "gimmicks", and the analysis of personal data. The Berlin location is involved in the health care of the future. At the annual Conh-IT trade fair, the healthcare industry meets IT entrepreneurs to work together on new solutions. Bayer is one of the participants at this meeting. The pharmaceutical giant has set up a so-called accelerator in Wedding to invest in the health ideas of young entrepreneurs. There have already been 406 applications from 66 countries. with dpa

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