Pillars of Health: New Platforms Aggregate Third-party Data From Fitness-tracking Devices

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  • Researchers are beginning to criticize and question the usability of fitness-tracking devices. To combat this, companies are developing platforms to aggregate data from third-party sources. This enhances the user’s mobile health and fitness experience.
  • Apple HealthKit: Apple has launched their new HealthKit in order to make a personalized and unified health-tracking experience for users. Their app allows other apps providing health and fitness services to share data with each other. For example, users can select their nutrition app to share caloric information with their fitness apps. Users are also able to share their information with medical apps, so their physicians can stay updated.
  • GoogleFit: To challenge Apple, Google has released their service called Google Fit. It is a mobile health hub that collects and maintains data from multiple apps and wearable devices. With Google Fit, users can integrate weight loss apps, food monitoring apps and get suggested activities. Companies that have already partnered with Google Fit include Nike+, Adidas and Motorola.
  • WebMD Healthy Target: WebMD has updated their iPhone app to incorporate information from other health-related apps that users may have. This includes apps that correspond to wearables, dietary apps and exercise tracking apps. The additional “Healthy Target” portion can pull data from different devices like Fitbit and Jawbone. It then provides an overall summary of its findings, gives actionable advice for any issues and offers advice on diet, lifestyle and exercise.

BalancedHealthy POV:

  • The idea of pairing fitness with technology in the form of apps, video games, pedometers and blood pressure monitors has mainstreamed: 75% of US adults owned such a product in December 2013, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. However, for quite some time, a disconnect has remained between tracking health data and providing actionable ways in which people can be healthier. We see reactions such as, “this is interesting information to have, but now what?” Wellness-minded consumers are open to wearable fitness gadgets, but only if they force real lifestyle improvements.
  • As the question of functionality and usability come into play, wearables are really going to have to start proving their worth. Not only do these products have to provide actionable insight into people’s health habits, but they also will need to have a seamless user interface as well.
  • Platforms such as the three above hope to bridge that gap of actionable insight and seamless usability by accumulating data from multiple sources for the user. We foresee this being especially enticing to Millennials, who are constantly seeking out personalization and user-specific products.