Apple Launches Health Records Feature out of Beta
After a January launch of the beta version of Apple Health Records, an app which allows patients to access their electronic health record (EHR) across participating care providers, Apple announced the official launch of the app yesterday. The tech giant also announced that a number of major hospitals would be joining the program.
In addition to the 12 health systems announced with the beta, 27 more are ready to launch the service, for a total of 39. Anyone with an iPhone and iOS version 11.3 will be able to download the patient-facing side of the feature by updating the Health app in iOS.
Stanford Medicine, Scripps, NYU Langone Medical Center, Partners Health Care, Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Duke University Medical Center are among the hospitals joining today. Apple previously announced Penn Medicine, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins, and Geisinger Health System.
Although the program aims to improve issues related to EHR interoperability by providing patients access to their own data, the program is limited in scope because patients can only access information contributed by participating providers. Nonetheless, the participation of a significant number of major health care providers is a promising sign for the future of the program.
The feature will use HL7’s FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) specification. Users will be able to see things like allergies, medications, conditions, and immunizations, as well as the sort of things they might check an EHR patient portal for, such as lab results. They can be notified when the hospital updates their data. The data will be encrypted, and users will need to enter a password to view it…
Apple’s long-awaited announcement of the health records tool in January sparked a healthy debate in the digital health community about whether Apple could succeed where others have failed in bringing patient’s EHR data to their own smartphones. Time will tell, but the number of hospitals and clinics participating — which number in the hundreds when you account for the size of some of the participating health systems — bodes well for the success of the experiment.