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iHealth Blood Pressure Dock arrives to fundamentally change healthcare

iHealth running on iPad and iPhone

The iHealth Blood Pressure dock launches today. It’s simply fantastic.

This product heralds a fundamental change in the way that healthcare metrics will be obtained, delivered and managed. The interactive or e-health marketplace is growing substantially. Indeed last year I saw a tiny pill at Qualcomm’s offices that — no word of a lie — contained a tiny camera. Swallow the pill and the camera wirelessly transmits what it sees to a nearby receiver. Amazing stuff. And although so much is possible nowadays, it always takes a little while to percolate through to the consumer.

However iHealth — the device you see above — is launching today.

iHealth enables you to monitor your blood pressure from your iPhone or iPad.

For millions, ‘blood pressure’ is synonymous with a gruff nurse or doctor strapping your arm up for a few seconds and instructions to stay away from too much red meat. And that’s it.

Blood pressure is — unfortunately — usually something you check when you’re at the doctors. Not when you’re at home, at work or wherever. It’s just too… complicated. Too annoying to contemplate. I don’t know anyone who’s got a blood pressure unit at home. I think a doctor once gave my father a unit to use for a little while. He obviously used it once when he got home to demonstrate to us. Me and my two brothers then spent the rest of the week measuring each other’s blood pressure for the fun of it. And then… the whole thing was forgotten about.

Speak to any doctor and they’ll tell you that blood pressure is a key indicator of any patient’s well being.

This is the problem. It’s all too difficult, messing around with pumps and charts. Unfortunately most of us need to be seriously ill to have the motivation to do anything other than hold a cursory thought about our health, let alone measuring blood pressure.

iHealth changes all that, big time.

We’ve been waiting for this kind of thing for some time. Ever since Steve Jobs spent a good amount of time talking about the medical industry and the iPhone, I’ve been expecting this kind of kit to hit the market.

How does it work?

Well, look at the graphic above. That’s it. It’s that simple. Stick your iPad or iPhone into the iHealth dock. The dock is connected to the blood pressure unit. Everything is controlled from the nice, simple iHealth app.

The app itself will allow you to test, track, graph and share a history of your blood pressure with friends, family and the doctors you wish. Really cool.

What’s the damage? It will be available for $99.95 from Apple.com and from Apple’s retail stores. You can also buy online at www.ihealth99.com. They’re going to sell tons of them. Indeed, the fact it’s been authorised at all to be sold by Apple indicates a sure sign of confidence from Jobs & Co.

I would also hope that the price point and the uber-simple use case will help iHealth find an appreciative audience. And, in the long run, help make everyone a little bit healthier.

The chaps behind the product, Yi Liu, Zhi Yi Li and Renda Wang have got plans. Big plans. Future devices include a home glucose-monitoring device as well as (gulp) connected scales. I’m not too sure I’d like my doctor — or, anyone else — getting my real time weight updates direct from my iScales, but then again, I’d much rather my doctor(s) have every piece of information possible to help keep me fit and well.

Indeed, when I think about the way the medical industry works right now — the fact you just turn up at a doctor’s surgery and state that you’re ‘unwell’ — is simply ridiculous. I’d love to be able to arrive with the last 30 days worth of key vital statistics including quarter-by-quarter trends. Have I been losing weight whilst my blood-sugar has been careering all over the place, together with increased blood pressure sustained across 5-6 hours per day, every business day, for the last 90 days? That’s gonna tell you something when I arrive into the surgery complaining of goodness knows what. Right now, the doctor has to do his/her best to parse my semi accurate memories.

“I felt fine on Tuesday,”

“Are you sure, Mr MacLeod? You’re blood-sugar was through the floor, it looks like you hardly ate anything after 8am and your blood pressure was off the chart — look?”

Yes. I’d like my doctors to have everything they need to determine trend/cause right-away. I don’t think it should stop at blood pressure though. Let’s get all the key metrics out.

iHealth is just the beginning.

What do you think?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

16 replies on “iHealth Blood Pressure Dock arrives to fundamentally change healthcare”

Omron are not going to like this! I guess it is a Finnish thing, and given the tiny size of the market here, it’s almost irrelevant to companies like this, but here I know many, many people of all ages who have some sort of Omron blood pressure monitoring device in their house that is, both used regularly and lent to neighbours, friends, relatives at times of illness etc. The wrist mounted ones have been actually rather popular as Christmas presents the last few years judging by the advertising and displays.

Well good luck to them I suppose.

Maybe Apple like the idea of their faithful living as long as possible, and so were only to eager to approve of this. Especially when priced at this level only the wealthier devotees will be able to afford it. And of course I imagine that something like this would be ideal for someone who has said, say, a pancreaticoduodenectomy, a hormone imbalance problem and a liver transplant…

I think this is quite interesting, coming soon after your two “spoof” anti Apple linkbait pieces :-)))]

Lots of inovations, be them apps, or devices like this keep coming out, and guess what, they appear first (or only) for the iDevices. Not for Nokia, not for Android, and not for Blackberry.

As a diabetic who is shamefully lax about keeping track of BG levels, I eagerly await the release of the BG monitor device, and yes, JUST because it works with my iPhone and iPad WILL mean I will use it more often.

Kev, another great comment: This is a real frustration (and delight) for me.
I love the fact that companies choose to take a chance and bring out these
kinds of innovations, however it’s a real, real shame that it’s — almost by
it’s very nature — limited to iOS (at the moment).

And responding to your point about because it’s on iPhone/iPad, you will use
it more often — I’m really interested to explore that. I totally agree with
you. But why? Is it because it’s a bit fun, a bit cool? Will the ‘shine’
wear off quickly? Or would you keep on using it because of the elegant
implementation?

Well, I will say I would also use it just because it is on mobile, so if there was an Android version, I would also use it. I think it comes down to the fact that you always have your phone with you.

Does the 30 pin dock connector Apple stick to make it easier for these sorts of things? Can it even be done via a Micro USB I wonder?

The whole “cool” thing is not for me, I am 50 in a couple of months, and I really have not owned an iPhone since the 3GS (I had the original but it was shit and sold it for a huge profit after a few days :-), due to any sort of coolness factor, honest.

I am currently in my regular pattern of trying to get rid of my iPhone 4 and rely on just my Android device, currently the SGS with Darkys ROM, and am *so* close, but just not quite able to do it 🙂

Hi Ewan,

I can’t see why you would want you go to a Doctors office to be told:

“sugar was through the floor, it looks like you hardly ate anything after 8am and your blood pressure was off the chart”

Wouldn’t it be better if a Diabetes Nurse called you at 8am and asked what was going on?

You might be interested in checking out the work of Orange in Austria. In June last year they became the first EU Mobile Operator to start selling Medical Devices: http://t.co/iBxTJkd

Yes I was trying to come up with some vaguely realistic medical language. Didn’t do very well there did I, David?

I will check out what Orange is doing, thank you!

You actually did a great job of explaining how today’s sickcare industry would respond to the availability of this data eg. post event at their convenience.

The problem a connected monitor gives rise to are obvious to people with clinical experience eg. what happens if the patient gets a blood pressure reading as low as “60/30”?

That’s exactly why my company is bringing always on, always available mHealth services to market to provide in-market support to customers using innovative sensors such as the iHealth Blood Pressure Dock.

Of course the Mobile Operator customer service teams could have a go at trying to manage this…

it’s actually out now. i ordered one last week, it arrived last night and was dead out of the box. doesnt work. any time i plug an iphone or ipad in i get the error “this accessory is not supported by iPhone”…..huh??? it was designed for the iphone yet doesnt work. maybe i just got the lemon.

that said, i’ve sent 2 e-mails with no response from the maker. ive also called their “tech support” number twice and left messages (nobody answers). no call back or response. maybe this company is already shut down before it even started?

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