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?

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