Apple today introduced a significant update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta, debuting a feature for customers to see their medical records right on their iPhone. The updated Health Records section within the Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and other participating hospitals and clinics are among the first to make this beta feature available to their patients.

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 will 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.

“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,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, in a statement. “By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.”

New capabilities in Health Records help patients see medical records from multiple providers.

New capabilities in Health Records help patients see medical records from multiple providers.

 
“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” said Stephanie Reel, Chief Information Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in a statement. “This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email.”

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones. Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond,” said Darren Dworkin, Chief Information Officer at Cedars-Sinai.

The new Health Records section is available to the patients of the following medical institutions as part of the iOS 11.3 beta. In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records offering their patients access to this feature. Further information for health institutions is available here.

• Johns Hopkins Medicine – Baltimore, Maryland
• Cedars-Sinai – Los Angeles, California
• Penn Medicine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• Geisinger Health System – Danville, Pennsylvania
• UC San Diego Health – San Diego, California
• UNC Health Care – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
• Rush University Medical Center – Chicago, Illinois
• Dignity Health – Arizona, California and Nevada
• Ochsner Health System – Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
• MedStar Health – Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
• OhioHealth – Columbus, Ohio
• Cerner Healthe Clinic – Kansas City, Missouri

MacDailyNews Take: Another excellent step along the way to solving the health record conundrum!

With capabilities like this, untold numbers of lives will be saved.

One of the biggest issues in healthcare in the U.S. today is that there is no “Quarterback” – someone running the effort, coordinating the various specialists, making sure everyone is on the same page with the treatment plan(s), drug interactions, allergies, etc. A “playbook” showing the full picture of the patient’s health data would be very useful – and let the disparate medical personnel each quarterback on their own. Hopefully, Apple can step in, build, and fulfill this need with the company’s vaunted security and privacy.MacDailyNews, August 22, 2016

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. While that personal health journey had a great impact on Jobs personally, it turns out that it affected Apple’s top management, too. During this time, Jobs discovered how disjointed the healthcare system can be. He took on the task of trying to bring some digital order to various aspects of the healthcare system, especially the connection between patients, their data, and their healthcare providers…

I have long been observing these key moves around healthcare, which accelerated after Jobs’ death. It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers. I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died. And while Apple’s products define Jobs’ legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple’s greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.

It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born.Tim Bajarin, TIME Magazine, May 09, 2016

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