I think it’s safe to say Apple® is now one of the largest healthcare technology vendors in the world. The company’s mobile solutions have transitioned from consumer communication to transformative technologies for the healthcare environment. That’s why I look forward to the announcements that come out of the Worldwide Developers Conference every year.
In past years, when Apple introduced the iOS10 CallKit, we built an integration to provide a more native voice experience for Voalte One™ users on the iPhone. At the same time, Apple introduced SiriKit, and we integrated the new functionality to enable our users to make voice-activated commands while using Voalte solutions.
Most of this year’s healthcare buzz from WWDC18 involved the new health records API for developers, which opens up data to third-party iOS apps and makes it possible for users to securely share health records data from more than 500 hospitals. While the HealthKit APIs are going to be revolutionary for healthcare, a number of other announcements – grouped notifications, critical alerts and Siri Shortcuts – are going to have an immediate impact on the healthcare enterprise.
Grouped notifications: Apple announced a new way to group message threads and notification topics so it’s easier to see the most important information with just a glance at your iPhone. This will be an important feature that makes it easier for caregivers to manage multiple message threads, such as those about different patients, using the care team group messaging feature in Voalte One and Voalte Me™.
Critical alerts: A new opt-in feature allows important alerts from specified apps to be delivered, even if the user has enabled Do Not Disturb (DND) or has his or her ringer switch set to mute. This feature is vital in the healthcare environment, allowing critical alerts such as a Code Blue, urgent page, or critical messages to break through an individual user’s DND status or ringer switch. It’s easy to imagine that a physician might want to use DND and mute for personal applications, while allowing critical healthcare alerts to be delivered via the Voalte Me app. This feature will go a long way toward convincing long-time pager users that they can feel comfortable replacing their pager with a smartphone.
Siri Shortcuts: Advances in Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant, include a new feature called Shortcuts. By integrating with your apps, Siri can now respond to customized voice commands that trigger a series of actions. Apple cited the example of the Tile Bluetooth tracker, letting you create a voice command such as, “Find my keys” to activate the Tile app locator feature. In healthcare, you can imagine many uses for a Siri Shortcut, such as “Emergency call,” which would simultaneously place a voice call to Security and send a group text message to critical team members. Our Product Management and Engineering teams are already vetting how these new features can improve care coordination.
While we all enjoy the new features and enhanced functionality of our increasingly intelligent smartphones, Apple’s focus on healthcare is transforming how care teams communicate and deliver care. We’re pleased to partner with Apple as we continue to offer our customers the very latest in mobile technologies.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.