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Apple Debuts Patient-Centered EHRs With Health Records App

Apple Health Records allows patients at 12 participating hospitals to see comprehensive, patient-centered EHRs on iOS devices.

Apple Debuts Patient-Centered EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Apple recently launched its Health Records app to provide users with a comprehensive view of patient-centered EHRs on iOS devices.

Health Records is available as an update through Apple’s existing Health app. The update allows patients at participating hospitals and clinics to view their complete health data from multiple providers at any time.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and Cerner Healthe Clinic are among the first to make the feature available to patients. Health Records is based on the Health Level Seven (HL7) application programming interface (API) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

FHIR specifications are useful for aggregating and merging patient health data from disparate data sources. The internet-based protocol enables developers to innovate technologies more quickly.

“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams.  “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.”

Patients can use the single app to view health data including allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals from various healthcare organizations. Additionally, patients receive notifications when their health record is updated.

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” said Johns Hopkins Medicine CIO Stephanie Reel.

Other hospitals already on board with the Health Records app include Geisinger Health System, UC San Diego Health, and Dignity Health. According to Apple, more healthcare organizations are expected to connect to Health Records in the coming months.

“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,” said Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin.

“We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones,” he continued. “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.”

Physicians and nurses who have expressed frustration in the past with cluttered, confusing EHR system interfaces can use Health Records to view lab test results, radiology images, and patient EHRs on their iPhones.

Other Apple Healthcare offerings include CareKit, ResearchKit, and HealthKit.

CareKit is a patient-facing app including features such as Care Card, Symptom and Measurement Tracker, and Insight Dashboard to allow patients to track and share health data with providers. Users can collect patient-generated health data for pregnancy and newborn health, diabetes management, depression management, and other kinds of health management.

ResearchKit offers researchers an open-source framework to build apps, enroll participants in clinical trials, gather participant consent forms, and collect data more frequently. Data collected through the app is confidential to the app creator and the patient. Existing apps study breast cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases and conditions. HealthKit enables users to develop health and fitness apps.

HealthKit allows app developers to create mHealth tools to improve patient health outcomes related to fitness. Health IT companies including Cerner have used HealthKit to develop wellness apps capable of collecting patient-generated health data. 

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