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Apple, Mayo Clinic team up

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about iOS 8 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Franciscoon Monday. Mayo Clinic has a role in Apple's new health-related apps.
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Mayo Clinic will play a big part in Apple's plans to turn its iOS devices into health-information dashboards, Apple announced on Monday at its annual software developer conference.

The Rochester.-based medical system will be among the first to tap into health-related features that are a part of Apple's upcoming iOS 8 operating system for the iPhone and iPad.

"We believe Apple's HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people. We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app," said Mayo CEO Dr. John H. Noseworthy, in a quote unveiled as part of the presentation at Apple's conference.

According to the Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic patients and consumers will be able to more easily access personalized health information, guidance and care when they need it through HealthKit. Users will be able to monitor various HealthKit parameters through an easy-to-interpret dashboard, which highlights trends and flags values that may need attention, according to the news network.

Users will have an Apple app called Health that will collect health data from a variety of sources, including fitness- and health-monitoring apps and devices. These include wearable fitness gizmos such as the Fitbit, along with mobile hardware that monitors heart activity, blood oxygen saturation and other variables.

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Mayo Clinic has big plans for all of this health data.

With users' consent, the information will be fed to Mayo and analyzed so the clinic can offer better medical advice. Such a service would be made available to Mayo patients, as well as to those who use the clinic's public health-information databases.

The Mayo Clinic's Patient app would interact with Apple's Health app.

For Mayo's patients, the Apple technology has major implications, said John Wald, the clinic's medical director for public affairs. With access to more and better information about patients at their fingertips, doctors might be able to shorten or eliminate costly hospitalizations.

"We'll be able to provide high-quality care based on data patients provide themselves," Wald said. "This is an incredibly exciting opportunity."

Apple on Monday also announced a tool called HealthKit that will let developers of health apps and devices funnel data into the Health app. Nike, along with Mayo, is planning to make heavy use of HealthKit.

Mayo Clinic and Nike have a long history of working closely with Apple. Mayo Clinic's medical workers, for instance, have long relied on iOS hardware in their work, and the clinic is among iOS-dependent companies profiled on the Apple site. The Mayo Clinic is a major developer of consumer and internal apps for iOS.

Working with Apple is hugely important, Wald said, because the tech company has "a better understanding of the consumer relationship."

Related Topics: HEALTHMAYO CLINIC
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