The doctor will see your phone now

One day soon, your doctor may be able to check whether you're meeting your exercise and diet goals by getting a report from your phone. Whether that's a good thing or not is all in how you look at it.

Mayo Clinic has been working with Apple to connect Mayo's iPhone app to the new operating system known as iOS8, which will offer a wellness-tracking app called HealthKit. The Mayo app, which will be offered free of charge, will use information gathered by HealthKit.

"We believe that we can provide those information tools, consumer health information, the basics about different chronic diseases or symptoms, for example, through some of our digital properties," said Mayo's Dr. Paul Limburg in a conversation with The Daily Circuit. "Connect people to experts in various ways, whether it's remotely to our physician staff, to our coaching staff, etc., so that people can understand what their personal health status is, what their modifiable risks might be, and how Mayo clinic could help them maintain their health."

"An informed patient, an empowered patient, is probably one who is more knowledgeable and more motivated to carry forward an action plan that we might develop together," Limburg said. "So I think having patients have access to and manage their own information and physical activity data and nutrition data and diet data — I think all of that is a good thing.

"Clearly, that's a lot of information. It's tough for somebody to take action on all those different parameters. It's sometimes difficult for a health care provider to make sense of all that information when somebody comes in. So we're trying to create a framework, with HealthKit integrating with the Mayo Clinic app, where all of those data points ... are organized in a more manageable way, and that there is automated or even direct connection to Mayo Clinic experts who can help make sense of all the information."

He described HealthKit as an "aggregator, if you will; Mayo Clinic's app will provide some of the knowledge and expertise that helps to inform an actionable plan based off of the data that the user would upload into the HealthKit."

Limburg said Mayo's board has articulated a goal of expanding the organization's reach to 200 million people by 2020. Right now, he said, Mayo reaches 1.2 million people.

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