Continuing a focus on health related products, such as its HealthKit and Apple Watch, Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,916,474) for a “wellness registry” for receiving and sharing wellness data.
The wellness data can be received by a user device from any number of sensors external or internal to a user device — from a user manually entering the wellness data, or from other users or entities. The user device can securely store the wellness data on the user device and transmit the wellness data to be stored on a remote database. A user of the device can share some or all of the wellness data with research entities conducting research studies, friends, relatives, caregivers, healthcare providers, or the like.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that approximately 133 million Americans currently suffer from at least one chronic condition. This number is expected to rise to approximately 165 million by the year 2020. As a result, the cost of healthcare in the U.S. is expected to increase dramatically.
Apple says attempts have been made to improve the health of individuals by providing them with tools to monitor and track their wellness data. Wellness data can generally include any type of data associated with a person's health, such as their weight, heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose level, medication compliance, activity level, or the like.
Apple wants users to be able to monitor their wellness using devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, blood glucose monitors, electrocardiograms, step counters, and the like. Software apps associated with each of these devices have also been developed to allow users to track their wellness data over time. While each app can be used to view useful information about a user's health, current applications are limited in their ability to allow users to store, view, and share wellness data collected by different devices. Apple wants to change this via a wellness registry.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.