Google I/O came and went last week and one of the expected announcement came labelled “Google Fit”. This story may sound similar to our previous post outlining Apple’s Health Kit, to which comparisons will undoubtedly be made.
Google Fit will provide a an integrated platform on the Android OS for it to communicate with a variety of mHealth tracking devices. Unlike Apple, Google has not revealed a central “app” that collates all the data. Rather, it is trying to make a standard platform that would allow devices from different manufacturers to “play nice” with their apps.
Thus far, a whole host of companies have signed on to the initiative, such as Nike, Addidas and the ever popular RunKeeper.
Regardless of the approach, it is encouraging to see the world’s two biggest smartphone platforms integrating health tracking features as a key part of their OS.
WWDC is a big annual event for all things related to Apple and this year it certainly did not disappoint. We have previously covered many mHealth technologies that are paired to the now ubiquitous smartphone but after the main keynote of the event, it seems that Apple, one of the world’s biggest consumer electronics companies, is ready to throw it’s weight behind mHealth as well.
We previously reported the rumours in February where it was suggested that Apple was incorporating Health related features into iOS. Now, the announcement is official with news of HealthKit. The software platform will be built right into iOS, allowing it to “know” the type of data being shared by different sensor hardware. This should shift the brunt of the user side software development work form device manufacturers, allowing them more resources to produce innovate mHealth hardware.
Not to be outdone, rumours have also started emerging of a similar platform being developed by Google for its Android platform. Rumoured to be dubbed “Google Fit”, the still unannounced platform is expected to be revealed at Google’s developer event, I/O which starts later this month on June 25th.
The wave of activity from the major players in the smartphone industry to back mHealth initiatives may be the beginning of another mHealth revolution. This time, it looks like population at large will be the main beneficiary.
News article by Dr Raffy Halim
- Apple: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/health/
- Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2014/06/13/google-launching-google-fit-health-platform/
The Editorial Board at the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine is proud to present Volume 3, Issue 1S, published in June 2014. As media partners of UCLA’s Innaovative use of Technology for HIV prevention and Care Conference, Journal MTM is proud to present a special edition of the Journal presenting all the conference abstracts. We look forward to your article submissions.
Volume 3, Issue 1S Contents – UCLA Innovative Use of Technology for HIV Prevention and Care Conference
Ian W. Holloway, PhD, MSW, MPH1
1Department of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles
Journal MTM 3:1S:6, 2014
HIV continues to rise among young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YMSM) despite current prevention efforts. Increasingly, YMSM are using smartphone applications (“apps”) to communicate with friends, meet romantic partners and seek information about health. A growing number of apps for YMSM contain a geosocial networking component, allowing users to send text messages, photos and pin drops to other users according to geographic proximity. These apps are becoming increasingly specialized for targeted subpopulations of MSM and attract millions of users worldwide. Our research team used the geolocation feature of a popular app to recruit a probability sample of YMSM (ages 18-24; N = 195) in Southern California. Participants completed an anonymous online survey on a variety of topics, including sexual health and technology use. YMSM in our study were single (87%), educated (85% college degree or higher), gay-identified (87%) and largely out to family and friends (94%). Over three-quarters had used the app to meet a sexual partner and 29% indicated their primary reason for using the app was to “hook up.” However, YMSM also used the app to connect to the gay community (65%), make new friends (80%) and kill time when bored (86%). Eighty-eight percent of users logged onto the app daily (50% logged on five or more times a day); 46% used at least one other gay geosocial networking app and 70% indicated willingness to receive HIV prevention information via smartphone. Results indicate that geosocial networking apps represent a prime opportunity for discreet, targeted outreach for YMSM. Possible functionality could include geolocation-based HIV test finders, automated behavioral and biomedical prevention reminders, gay-specific content on health and well-being and network-based health promotion. Future community-based research with YMSM and smartphone app companies on optimal design and functionality of geosocial networking interventions for YMSM is needed.
Susannah M. Allison, PhD1, Jacqueline Lloyd, PhD, MSW2
1Program Officer, Division of AIDS Research, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH; 2Deputy Branch Chief, Prevention Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Journal MTM 3:1S:10, 2014
Technology-based HIV research has expanded dramatically over the past decade. Technology allows for greater reach, anonymity, tailoring, dissemination and implementation of interventions and services in diverse contexts and settings. Technology also allows for the efficient collection of data in real time, collection across multiple random timepoints, and collection of social network interaction data. While technology presents opportunities, there also are a number of challenges to address as well as investigate through research (e.g. ethics, data security and confidentiality, costs, keeping ahead of changing technology). The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have a history of supporting technology-based HIV research and have continued interest in funding research that integrates and takes advantage of innovative and emerging technologies. Both NIMH and NIDA have a number of current funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) and initiatives to harness the power of technology to prevent HIV, provide HIV care and services, and improve the health outcomes of those living with HIV