There’s an article on iMedicalApps which looks at both Google Fit and Apple Healthkit’s offerings. The cliff notes version is that they both store the information in a very similar way (standard format based on type of data). The big difference is that Apple Healthkit also has an Apple Health app that provides a user display of the health data that’s being stored. Google has opted not to provide such an app, but to allow the app ecosystem to take care of it instead.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Apple has always been about providing the fully integrated experience. Google has always been about opening up their data and empowering a community of developers to innovate on top of that ecosystem. Look at Android vs iPhones to see what I mean.
These differences aside, I was intrigued by the idea that Apple Healthkit and/or Google Fit would basically create a standard for health data. You can imagine they’re starting with simpler data elements like heart rate, blood pressure, and other fitness measures like steps. I haven’t seen a full list of the various health data they’re standardizing, but it would be interesting to see.
I’m particularly interested to see how they handle a standard for more complex health data. Even something that many might consider simple, like blood pressure, has its own complexities. It’s more than just two numbers. How was the blood pressure taken? Was it sitting, laying down, or standing? Was it the wrist, arm, etc? Depending on what you’re doing this might not matter, but in other cases it does. Does their standard take these things into account?
The challenge for Google, Apple, and any other company that’s working in this space is making sure that the data they collect and share can be trusted. If there’s no trust in the data, then it doesn’t matter how much or what data you collect. A half baked standard leads a lot of healthcare professionals to not trust the data.
I’m hopeful that Google and Apple have put some serious, thoughtful effort into their health data standards. If someone knows where I can find those standards, I’d love to see them.