The introduction of iOS 8 in 2014 brought the Health app to our iPhones and marked a milestone in Apple’s efforts to help people live healthier lives. The success of the Apple Watch in the following years brought a renewed consciousness to healthy living to millions of customers. Now that the Health app is turning into a critical tool for managing medical data, let’s take a look at how it could become even more friendly and motivating to a growing community.
The majority of people using iPhones and Apple Watches to track their health have the simple wish to reach their goals and monitor their wellness. While today’s Health app is rich with data points and charts, it takes valuable time to dive in and parse the information. Even more challenging is drawing accurate and informed conclusions from the data without a medical background.
The Health app of the future could be a dashboard for your body, filled with daily insights into your wellness. Helpful tips for living a better life could be drawn from the treasure trove of data synced from your Apple Watch and connected apps, tailored to your specific health history and needs. Rather than just a data aggregator, Health could become a proactive and motivational tool.
Apple has already dipped their toes into smart coaching with the Activity app. The introduction of watchOS 4 brought progress updates and monthly challenges to the Apple Watch.
Other third-party apps and services like Gyroscope, Strava, Nike+ Move, and Nokia Health offer their own health tips and curated data. What makes Apple’s Health app unique is its depth. Such a rich and comprehensive library of data makes it a one stop shop.
Upon opening Health, a redesigned Today tab could provide an at-a-glance snapshot of your day. The card-style feed first introduced in Apple Music, and later adopted by iOS 11’s redesigned App Store, provides a familiar and flexible interface to display information.
Every day, fresh cards could display at the top of your feed with data insights, challenges to work toward, and intelligent health tips. These cards could even be pushed to your Apple Watch as notifications or shared on social media like your Activity rings can be today.
Similar to monthly Activity challenges, the Weekly Focus is an ever-moving target. Every week you’re encouraged to focus on a different metric with a goal of becoming more mindful of every aspect of your health.
There’s no better way to predict and plan future goals than by visualizing your progress. Week In Review and Month In Review cards highlight your positive health patterns over time and identify potentially concerning trends before they become major problems.
Health data, when correlated with proactive intelligence in iOS could produce tailored tips that go beyond generic advice by suggesting information deeply relevant to your lifestyle. For example, perhaps Health notes that you rarely complete the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. By combining this information with your iPhone’s list of frequently visited locations, Health could suggest a walk to your favorite park that will fill your Exercise ring.
Sharing Activity ring status with friends has become popular among Apple Watch owners. Apple has captured the phenomenon with their own “Close Your Rings” campaign. Since Activity data is synced with the Health app, motivational cards could compare your progress against your friends.
Apple continues to add more Apple Watch challenges to the Activity app for special events and celebrations. Some of the long-term achievements require days, weeks, and months of dedication to earn. By analyzing the time period over which you completed an achievement, Health could show you just how much hard work and effort went into earning your award.
Connect the right third-party apps and hardware to Health and a comprehensive array of information about your lifestyle is unlocked. From nutrient intake to sleep quality to mindfulness minutes, you may not even realize how much data you have at your fingertips.
Health Insights could take this raw information and distill it into understandable, familiar, and valuable wellness knowledge. Clear labeling on cards which pull data from third-party sources keeps you in control of your information.
Ultimately, the goal of all of Apple’s work in health is to empower people to live better and more active lives through technology. Creating an exceptionally approachable and motivating Health app will encourage even more people to invest in their own well-being. Apple has kickstarted a renewed focus on healthy living, and now they have the opportunity to take their mission to the next level.