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Healthkit: A Network of Too Much Information

Apple has recently released ¬†Heathkit, its new health and fitness tracking app. Although postponed due to a few bugs, apps such as MyFitnessPal and FitPort have just released updates to work with Healthkit. Apple intends to fix a “problem” with health apps: data sharing. There are many health apps out there that track a great variety of things, from distance running and steps taken to calories eaten. However there is no where to see all this data in one place, or to track the trends of one specific aspect of a users health data. In this way Healthkit acts as the central hub of a network, allowing other apps to become nodes with edges connecting to Healthkit itself. These apps could then share data with the central app and gather data from the central app, therefore making each app’s health data more accurate, detailed, ¬†and broad.

In a society so merged with technology, attached to our devices, it is hard to see the negative potential this “hub” represents. It seems like a great idea; a user can track, lets say, their vitamin A intake by the minute! And for someone who is medically concerned with the levels of vitamin A in their system at all times this could be a life changing improvement. However, for most of us who are simply concerned with this new reason to check our phones it becomes an obsession. Healthkit makes it so easy to become so obsessive about extreme specifics in our day to day life that many of us may find ourselves just as addicted to tracking caloric intake as we are checking our Facebook newsfeed.

It is clear that Healthkit has the potential to have an enormous amount of power. From a networks standpoint it has an edge to every health app. While some health apps have edges connecting them to a few others, theoretically all would be connected to Healthkit. Obviously this power is an opportunity for apple to do something big for our health. Whether it is a step in the right direction depends on how we use it.



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September 2014