Here comes Healthbook

Big news recently as the first images of Apple’s long expected Healthbook app have hit the net. Now, if you’re a student of Apple leaks, you’ll know that new Apple products tend to bring out the Photoshop in a lot of people. That said, releases from 9-to-5 Mac have been consistently accurate, which is why this one is getting more attention.

There’s a lot to discuss here, but let’s focus today on the most obvious issues: there is A LOT here. Blood pressure, physical activity, diet? All expected. But, pulse ox? I don’t know whether this warrants a “Whoa! or a “Whoa…”

Quick — which one’s the good cholesterol: HDL or LDL? That’s my point.

We’re still missing a lot of information. We don’t yet know precisely how iOS will be gathering all of these metrics (although this does raise the intriguing possibility that the new Touch ID can do more than we initially imagined). We don’t yet know how these data will be secured or how third-party developers will be allowed to access them.

But this we do know: Healthbook will not be enough.

We’ve gotten a lot better at collecting data. We have all manner of sensors and devices wrapped around nearly every appendage. It’s become easier and cheaper for even novice users to track important health information.

But behavioral science is clear on this point: tracking is necessary but not sufficient. People need feedback to improve their health. It doesn’t need to come from a trained counselor or coach, an evidence-based algorithm fits the bill. But you need both: tracking and feedback.

Apple will be giving us the tools to do the tracking. Who’s bringing the rest?