Virgin Pulse links with Apple’s HealthKit, could serve as hub for other apps to do so as well

Photo via Apple
Photo via Apple

Virgin Pulse, the Framingham-based health and wellness software company that is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, says it has integrated its products with Apple’s new HealthKit app. One of the first larger healthy-living programs to connect to Apple’s iPhone 6 health app, Virgin Pulse has an opportunity to serve as an intermediary between HealthKit and the wide range of health, wellness, and fitness applications Virgin currently connects to.

HealthKit, which was one of the centerpieces of Apple’s recent iPhone and iOS 8 launches (along with the recently enacted Apple Pay), has been off to a bit of a shaky start. At first, HealthKit didn’t work as the company had hoped it would, and many apps that had prepared for the launch had to pull their HealthKit-enabled products. Most recently, Apple’s all-in-one health destination has been in the news because certain app developers and fitness hardware makers haven’t connected to HealthKit — and many don’t plan to anytime soon.

Virgin Pulse is a software service, not connected to the health insurance industry, that allows employers to promote health and wellness to its workers by connecting health tracking devices — that can monitor anything from sleep patterns to heart rate to number of calories burned in a day. Also, the company offers a wide-array of health and wellness related services to promote positive behavior change, which they say should lead to happier and more productive employees.

By connecting with HealthKit, Virgin Pulse now offers a larger opportunity for more users to track health data through Apple’s health app.

“We are in tandem, a one stop location or hub where people can choose how to manage their well-being,” said Virgin Pulse senior director of product marketing Andrea Dumont about the connection with HealthKit.

Dumont added that the promise of the quantified self, for individuals to track their own fitness and wellness, and for employers to see if their workers a leading happy, healthy lives, is the big draw of HealthKit.

By integrating with Apple’s health app, Virgin Pulse can also serve as a conduit for third-party applications and fitness hardware developers to connect with HealthKit without overtly going through Apple.

Our focus is to continuously partner with the best applications and programs who have the vision we have as far as managing the quantified self,” Dumont said. “We are acting as the hub, that’s what we are envisioning.”

And if Virgin Pulse can do that, she said, the company “will be able to form a more integrated view of heath and data for users and employers.”

Dumont also said that Virgin Pulse is integrated with FitBit, but it is looking like FitBit is going to be banished from the world of HealthKit, due to the company creating an Apple Watch competitor, according to TechCrunch. If this is the case, health and wellness platforms like Virgin Pulse have the opportunity to serve as an access point to companies shut out of HealthKit.

Should be interesting to see the HealthKit related space evolve.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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