Apple’s iPhones have always sold themselves, and that is especially true for the iPhone 6, which was hugely responsible for the company’s impressive Christmas quarter performance. And as though the iPhone didn’t need any additional promotion, Apple has sneakily started adding certain software features in iOS 8 that have convinced third parties to start promoting the iPhone 6 themselves.

FROM EARLIER: Hidden iOS 8.2 beta files give us brand-new details about the Apple Watch

The most obvious one is Apple Pay, exclusively available on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (and soon on the Apple Watch), which is also supported by an increasing number of financial institutions and banks that advertise the payments feature on their own while simultaneously explaining that it can only be used on those devices.

But Apple’s Health app and the HealthKit developer SDK might also prove to be an effective marketing tool for the company, as certain healthcare institutions might soon encourage patients to use Apple devices including newer iPhones and the upcoming Apple Watch to monitor certain health-related aspects of their lives.

Talking to 23 top hospitals in the U.S., Reuters has learned that no less than 14 of them have already deployed pilot programs testing Apple’s HealthKit service or are in talks to do so. Thus, Apple appears to have taken an early lead when it comes to the use of new tech for health care purposes.

The pilot programs should help physicians remotely keep an eye on patients with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, interpret early signs and intervene before a health problem becomes acute.

The publication mentions that Apple rivals including Samsung and Google are yet to start testing out such health programs in hospitals, as they have just started talks with top hospitals in the country.

On the other hand, even though HealthKit trials are underway, Reuters has learned that many hospitals are also interested in Google’s Fit service since so many people already own Android smartphones.

One other advantage Apple is perceived to have over others is that its HealthKit tool might be used to interface with the plethora of health and fitness monitoring devices that are used by patients — though that means buyers would need to purchase an iOS device capable of recording data in the Health app that’s only available in iOS 8.

“Can I interface to every possible device that every patient uses? No. But Apple can,” chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School John Halamka explained. Halamka also revealed that many of the 250,000 patients in his system use many devices, including Jawbone Up, to monitor health data.

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