Market Insight

Breathe in, breathe out

June 21, 2016

Roeen Roashan Roeen Roashan Senior Analyst, Healthcare Technology
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In the midst of transforming the healthcare sector, to counter the enormous challenges associated with chronic disease prevalence and aging population, the industry may occasionally risk losing oversight on simple, but important matters related to health.

It is widely known that breathing, a fundamental function of the body, is an area of improvement for most people. Considering the fact that an individual takes over 25,000 breaths per day and the vital purpose is to provide oxygen to the cellular function of the body, breathing effectively should be a priority to all. Breathing correctly also has its advantages in mental health, as it can reduce stress levels and anxiety.

Can technology help people breathe better? Apple certainly believes so. At the WWDC 2016, the Cupertino based company demonstrated its latest update to watchOS, which will be available in the fall. Alongside a great number of innovations, a breathing application was introduced on the Apple Watch. The application uses a number of functionalities on the watch to aid breathing exercises, including the built-in heart rate monitor and the haptic engine. Apple’s effort is not the first attempt from the industry to address breathing, as there are a number of mobile applications available on both iOS and Android for similar use-cases. There are also devices for inspiratory and expiratory purposes, but these are mostly marketed to COPD patients, military personnel or elite athletes.

Digital health is entering small and peculiar spaces, and Apple taking the lead does matter. These efforts make digital health more appealing to consumers who are not diagnosed with a condition or seriously engaged in their health, and that represents a large segment. Conducting breathing exercises, four times a day, through an engaging user interface, can be done anywhere, at any time. This is technically healthcare being delivered to the individual, according to his or her need, and resembles the personalized and automated healthcare model that IHS anticipates as the future of healthcare – all big journeys start with a small step.

For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, digital health analyst,

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Healthcare Technology
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