The Apple HealthKit, released by Apple in September 2014, has proven to be a successful technology in the management and clinical surveillance of type 1 diabetes patients, offering a more streamlined system for the patient-doctor communication of symptoms and important physiological data. The kit allows other apps in the health and fitness categories to share data and patient’s information, which is stored in a secure location, according to the user’s wishes.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, developed a pilot study with ten type 1 diabetic patients at Stanford Children’s Health, where the Epic MyChart is used, an electronic medical record and patient portal system. The patients use a continuous blood sugar monitor that sends 288 glucose readings per day to an Apple device. This information is safely transmitted through the HealthKit to the patient’s electronic medical record, via the MyChart app, at Stanford Children’s Health.
Dr. Kumar, who is planning to offer the program to more patients, commented on the success of the pilot study in a press release, “We’re very excited about this experience. Our endocrinologists are now able to easily assess large volumes of blood-sugar data between clinic visits—and quickly identify trends that could benefit from insulin dosing regimen changes. There is also an added benefit. We no longer need to download the data during clinic visits, and this allows us to spend more time with our patients and their parents.”
One of the 10 first patients to use this technology was 16-year old Blake Atkins, who, together with his mother Lori, enthusiastically shared the positive changes the HealthKit has brought to him and his family’s lives. In the past, he and his mother had to keep a strict record of glucose levels and the insulin dose needed to communicate to his doctor. This was especially difficult due to the busy lifestyle of a typical teenager, so the mother was also kept busy by this constant monitoring. This process was now made much easier via the Mychart app through the HealthKit. Both mother and son are very happy with the technology, as Blake stated, “It’s not a hassle at all,” adding that he doesn’t have to track anything anymore because HealthKit does it for him. “It’s taken the pressure off.” All he has to do is change the filament sensor in the continuous glucose monitor once a week and leave the monitoring to the HealthKit.