29 Jan Why Apple’s Moving Into the Health Records Market
By: Laurie Beaver
Date: Jan. 25, 2018
An update to Apple’s iOS, announced Wednesday, included a beta version of its Health app that will allow iPhone users to store and share their medical records from a range of healthcare systems in the US. So far, 12 hospitals and clinics have partnered with Apple for the pilot, including John Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, and Penn Medicine. These hospitals will be able to push health records notifications to eligible consumers’ phones, including medications, immunizations, lab results, and vitals. A beta version of the app became available on January 24 with the iOS 11.3 update, and officials expect it to be available as a free download within a few months.
The Health app update is an important step in solving the interoperability issues that plague the electronic health records (EHR) market. That’s important because healthcare is being increasingly consumerized and patients are more willing to move between systems that provide the best experience, rather than staying within a specific network, according to a 2017 survey by West. And because most healthcare systems have different IT standards, this can result in mismatched or incomplete patient EHRs, creating issues with the standard of care and causing a bottleneck in patient triage.
Eventually, the update could evolve into allowing patients to add real-time data to their medical records, such as exercise and sleeping patterns. That would give care providers a much fuller picture of the patient’s health, helping with things like chronic illness management, preventative medicine, and improving the overall quality of care.
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