In this June 2, 2014 photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about iOS 8 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple has stopped providing an update to its new iOS 8 mobile operating software, following complaints by some users who said Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, that the update interferes with their ability to make phone calls. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this June 2, 2014 photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about iOS 8 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple has stopped providing an update to its new iOS 8 mobile operating software, following complaints by some users who said Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, that the update interferes with their ability to make phone calls. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this June 2, 2014 photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about iOS 8 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) healthcare technology is spreading quickly among major U.S. hospitals, showing early promise as a way for doctors to monitor patients remotely and lower costs.

Fourteen of 23 top hospitals contacted by Reuters said they have rolled out a pilot program of Apple’s HealthKit service – which acts as a repository for patient-generated health information like blood pressure, weight or heart rate – or are in talks to do so.

The pilots aim to help physicians monitor patients with such chronic conditions as diabetes and hypertension. Apple rivals Google Inc (GOOGL.O) and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), which have released similar services, are only just starting to reach out to hospitals and other medical partners.

Such systems hold the promise of allowing doctors to watch for early signs of trouble and intervene before a medical problem becomes acute. That could help hospitals avoid repeat admissions, for which they are penalized under new U.S. government guidelines, all at a relatively low cost.

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