It has finally arrived to the Spanish market the most expected of all wearables, Apple Watch. The new big bet of the company led by Tim Cook opens many development opportunities for companies from all sectors, but health industry is one of the most interested in the development of Apple Watch, so it opens a whole field of possibilities monitoring vital signs and a new phase in the development of mHealth.
It is interesting to analyze where to find the pharmaceutical industry and enhances business opportunities around Apple Watch because laboratories shouldn’t be left out of this kind of technological development.
In the first place, Apple had already taken a giant step forward with the implementation of ResearchKit, an open source platform designed to help researchers and agents involved in health industry to get clinical and biological data. But now, and specially after the Apple Wtach’s software update next October (watchOS 2, which is available now for developers, offer other innovations like heart rate sensor), the possibilities multiply. Taking the development of apps to obtain precise and accurate on the evolution of certain diseases or adherence has a lot of opportunities for laboratories to further deepen their research and development to improve their formulary information. In addition, this tool presents a wonderful opportunity to expand their trials to a much larger population than usual.
Secondly, the pharmaceutical industry is in a unique position to establish itself as a significant player in the mobile health industry, or mHealth. While laboratories are committed to be more than “selling pills” the development of really useful to the user (patient or prescriber) digital applications is the logical way to follow. At present, some apps developed by the pharmaceutical industry focus on product presentation and/ or formulary, but just a few offer a real utility to the patient or physician. Last year’s “Benchmarking Pharma App Market 2014” study, made by the Research2Guidance consulting company, pointed out that, although almost all the big pharmaceutical companies have their own digital applications in the Apple Store and Google Play, its impact -in terms of downloads- is very low. Design specific tools for Apple Watch that deliver real and measurable impact on the health of patients or in the daily work of the physician, pharmacist or nurse may be the most effective formula for position pharma industry in mHealth field.
Finally, we mustn’t forget that, beyond their potential impact on health, Apple’s wearable is a powerful tool to simplify the user’s life and to enhance its relationship with other digital devices, so their applications in the management area are endless.
This article was written by Judit Subirats, chief of Bubblegum Health’s Engineering Departament and originally published in PM Farma.