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Work needed to make sure this Apple not poison

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IT giant Apple has been warned it needs to consult closely with the medical profession over plans to roll out a system that monitors and reports on the health of customers.

Apple has launched a system called HealthKit and an associated Health app designed to gather almost 70 different health and fitness measurements including diet, blood pressure and glucose levels, activity, heart rate, potassium levels, sleep and body temperature, and to send an alert to treating doctors when potential problems are detected.

The system is already in use in the United States, where researchers are trialling its usefulness in tracking the health of patients with diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

But AMA Council of General Practice Chair Dr Brian Morton said there were many issues to be resolved in order to convince doctors it was clinically reliable enough to be useful.

Dr Morton told The Australian potential issues included false alarms or the failure of the app to identify when a real medical emergency was underway.

He said there was “a long way to go” before such systems could be relied upon by medical practitioners, and called on Apple to engage with the medical profession and consumers to discuss how the HealthKit system would work and to address safety concerns.

Adrian Rollins