Surely no one expects the NHS to start giving away #Apple Watches when they arrive in stores next month, but the gadget has the power to improve healthcare. The new device, set to reach the market on April 24th, will be priced between £299.00 for the cheapest, aluminum version, and £13,500.00, for the high-end, 18k gold model.
Although pricey, the debut of the Apple Watch is set to have a huge impact on the NHS in the next few years. Why? Millions of people will start tracking their health and will be able to collect and send valuable information to their doctors and caretakers. Also, they will be motivated to use health dedicated apps, and become more proactive in taking care of issues like high blood pressure, smoking and excessive drinking, or high cholesterol.
The Apple Watch has a great focus on health and fitness monitoring. It comes preloaded with two native apps, Activity and Workout, that one can customise to get motivated. Activity helps you to increase your movement throughout the day, nagging you to sit less. It warns you if you've moved less at the end of the day and gives you tips and useful data. On the other hand, Workout is something of a personal trainer: it will show you how long you've been doing cardio, how far you've come, how many calories you've burnt, the session's pace, etc.
This is, however, only the beginning. Apple launched a HealthKit last year to allow developers to create apps dedicated to health - how is your heart rate these days? - and the Apple Watch is part of that strategy, along with the iPhone 6. Moreover, this week the company announced a new open-source platform, the ResearchKit, which will allow collaborative health trials to take place via Apple's devices. There are five medical facilities already enrolled in the program, aiming to advance research in areas such as breast cancer and Parkinson's.
Analysts expect the Apple Watch to shoot directly to the top of the market, selling around 19 million units in 2015 calendar year alone. It will also bring the category to the mainstream, causing a surge in interest in this kind of devices. Tons of health data will be generated and stored in a couple of years.
As the health publication
This week, The Guardian also made the case for Apple's Watch impact by noting that the NHS is already motivating patients to use health-connected apps, in areas like quitting cigarettes and stop abusing alcohol. "Some of those apps will collect data that should enable NHS doctors to know more about a patient's health without calling him or her in for an appointment," the newspaper articulates.
Even though fitness trackers have been around for years, they were always confined to a niche of people who already care about being fit; the Apple Watch will bring that to the masses.