Apple announced important new app updates at its WWDC event in June 2021 that bring exciting new health-centric features as Apple continues to encourage wider use of its health and fitness apps.
Most importantly, the Health app will now have a sharing feature that will allow patients to send the health data collected by the app to their doctors or family members and receive notifications from people they share with. This may include data like test results and COVID-19 vaccination logs, which means the Health app may now support more vaccination-related activities.
The feature seems like a great way to provide continuous health monitoring and goal tracking – and Apple’s full encryption ensures everything stays HIPAA compliant. The company made it clear that it cannot see any health data shared in this way. If you share test information with loved ones or your doctor, the app can also show advanced lab results so sharing can be more useful from a technical point of view. Combined with the ability to share health trends, Apple is making the Health app a more attractive option for healthcare professionals and nurses.
The Health app is also getting friendlier for the elderly, with a new Walking Steadiness feature that can monitor the gait and issue warnings when it looks like someone may fall, as well as other health issues over time with the trending mode. This can be particularly helpful for older users in more independent life situations. In combination with watchOS 8, the app can also monitor long-term breathing patterns and watch out for warning signals of breathing difficulties.
Breathing is a common theme at this year’s WWDC as the fitness app also receives updates to add Tai Chai and Pilates, while the new mindfulness app encourages relaxation breathing techniques.
The public release of watchOS 8 in support of many of these health upgrades is expected sometime in the fall of 2021, although features like sharing will be available when iOS 15 hits the market. We’ll provide you with all the details as the developer conference continues with important updates to Apple’s software!