MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The race for an all-in-one health data tracking system just got another contender as WebMD announced its new Healthy Target system for collecting and storing information from sleep monitors, blood glucose meters and other health and fitness technologies.
That puts WebMD in competition with Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) and its recently announced HealthKit platform and Health app, Samsung (LON:BC94) and its SAMI software platform and Simband wearable device and Google (NSDQ:GOOG) with its rumored Google Fit mobile health data silo.
Unlike Apple’s buzz-generated Health app, slated for launch later this year, and Google Fit, which has yet to be confirmed by the company, WebMD’s Health Target platform is available now through the existing WebMD app (Android and iOS). The app works with devices from Fitbit, Jawbone, Entra and others, according to a press release.
The platform integrates biometric data from activity trackers, wireless scales, and blood glucose meters to provide patients and their caregivers a more robust picture of general health. The app is targeted to "individuals looking to manage chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity" as well as to people with a general interest in their health and fitness, the company said.
The Healthy Target app also provides users with targets for adopting healthy habits, such as leaving behind a few bits of food after a meal, provides tips and videos for getting more exercise and lets users search for nearby doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.
Personal data tracking has become a major draw this year, with the recent revelation of Apple’s "HealthKit" project and "Health" app, which aim to become a mobile silo for personal health and fitness information, including patient-generated data and information generated through various physician portals. Some analysts expect Apple to release a much-rumored wearable "iWatch" with personal sensors very soon. Analysts with RBC Capital said in a note to investors this month that Apple may announce a wearable product in October or November this year, and that such a technology represents a "material opportunity" for the company.
Earlier this year Samsung unveiled its own digital health strategy, announcing an open wearable sensor hardware and software platform that it hopes to encourage innovators to come up with new ways to help consumers track their bodies. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S5 smartphone comes with a built-in heart rate sensor, which nearly got the company into some hot water with regulators in South Korea. Samsung president and chief strategy officer called digital health the "single greatest opportunity of our generation," adding that the company is on the lookout for new ways to meld technology and health.
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