Better medication adherence a potential use for Apple Watch

The age of wearable technology took a huge step forward on September 9 as Apple introduced Apple Watch, available in early 2015.

The product will educate the market on what the ultimate capabilities of wearables can be, including making it easier for consumers to monitor their health, says Michael Mytych, principal at Health Information Consulting in Menomonee Falls, Wis.

What really excites Mytych is the potential of Apple Watch to vastly improve medication adherence by tracking when medications should be taken and sending a reminder to an individual who is wearing the watch. That could be done in many ways, such as a beep or a photo of medication being placed on the watch screen at the time the medication should be taken.

Apple Watch, which has a built-in heart rate sensor, also would be useful in monitoring vital signs, Mytych says. He wonders, however, if battery life will be sufficient for healthcare tasks.

Also see: Cost, security concerns may slow Apple Watch's role in workplace wellness

The $64,000 question, Mytych notes, is whether software vendors making apps for Apple Watch will have a talented team managing HIPAA compliance. Other concerns include the affordability of the watch--pricing starts at $349 and requires an iPhone--as well as readability, particularly for the elderly.

These concerns aside, Mytych believes Apple Watch will stimulate the imagination of developers to solve real-world problems. “This is version 1.0; there will be tremendous evolution. Let’s sit back and see what the real brilliant people think of.”

Joseph Goedert is an editor with Health Data Management, a SourceMedia publication.

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