Earlier this year, Tim Cook said that health and fitness could be Apple’s “greatest contribution” to the world. If the Apple Watch doesn’t prove that concept, then the refreshed Apple Health app will. Coming this fall with the iOS 15 and watchOS 8 updates, the Apple Health update adds new health tracking features and lets you share data with family and doctors.
Health Sharing Gives Loved Ones and Doctors Insight
The biggest change coming to Apple Health is a new Health Sharing feature. A new Sharing tab lets you privately share your health data to friends, family, caretakers, or doctors. Someone recovering from a back injury, for example, could share their mobility data with a physical therapist.
Those who receive health data will see important trends highlighted. Sleep or resting heart rate data from an Apple Watch could provide insight into someone’s recovery, or help people catch the early warning signs of illness in an older relative.
Apple says that Health Sharing is available at certain healthcare facilities. Participating doctors and healthcare providers can feed shared data from patients’ Apple Health app into the electronic health records system.
Health users can limit the health data that people see in Health Sharing. Those on the receiving end of Health data can limit alerts to certain events, like an irregular heart rhythm.
Trends Make Health Trendy
The iOS 15 update adds Trends to the Health app, giving users a quick overview of their cardio, sleep, and other stats. These trends are included in Health Sharing and alert you to long-term health changes, helping you control your health and reach new goals.
Trends can also use third-party apps to track things like insulin delivery. As healthcare developers integrate their devices with Health, the app should provide more insight to people and families dealing with strict medication schedules, which some patients may have trouble keeping up with.
Walking Steadiness Helps Break Your Falls
A new Health tool called Walking Steadiness uses information gathered by your iPhone to determine your risk of an accidental fall. If your risk of falling is high, the Health app will notify you and direct you to resources for building strength and coordination. The app can also help you set steadiness goals and track your progress with Trends.
An accidental fall can often lead to serious long-term conditions. While it may take a long time for people who are at risk of falling to regain their strength and balance, at least they can get a heads-up from Apple Health. They can then use the app’s suggested exercises or talk to a doctor about their balance.