The medical records capability will roll out through a beta available to the general public in the coming months.
Google and Microsoft have had products available for years but lacked the ability to integrate information from a variety of sources. Apple thinks they have found the way.
The new Apple offering will have the advantage of being able to integrate information from multiple providers, better reflecting how people seek and receive care in the real world, where a person’s primary care doctor and specialist may not be at the same hospital.
Apple has worked with three vendors of electronic medical records for the first wave of its apps: Epic, Cerner and AthenaHealth.
The hospital systems participating are: Dignity Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Geisinger Health System, UC San Diego Health, UNC Health Care, Rush University Medical Center, Ochsner Health System, MedStar Health, OhioHealth and Cerner Healthe Clinic.
The Washington Post quotes Stephanie Reel, chief information officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine:
We all are very focused on trying to improve the patient experience, trying to make sure the patient feels empowered and able to manage and own their own health information. It should be like checking my email, like making a purchase online.
Read about opportunities and challenges in The Washington Post story published in The Denver Post
In the past, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log into each care provider’s website and piece together the information manually. Apple worked with the healthcare community to take a consumer-friendly approach, creating Health Records based on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), a standard for transferring electronic medical records.
Now, consumers can have medical information from various institutions organized into one view covering allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, and will receive notifications when their data is updated. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO is quoted:
Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone. By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.
Read the announcement from Apple for more detail.