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Cleveland Clinic Joins Apple Health Records for EHR Patient Access

Cleveland Clinic and a host of other hospitals have signed on to the Apple Health Records beta program to improve EHR patient access.

Cleveland Clinic and 27 other hospitals join Apple Health Records.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Apple Health Records beta program continues to build momentum as Cleveland Clinic and 27 other hospitals sign on to improve EHR patient access by allowing patients to view their information through iOS devices.

“A growing list of healthcare institutions support health records on iPhone, enabling you to view important data such as immunizations, lab results, medications, and vitals directly in the Health app,” Apple stated in a July 2 announcement.

Apple plans to continue working with more hospitals and clinics to support the Health Records feature.

Cleveland Clinic encouraged patients to use the Health Records feature along with the Epic MyChart patient portal to optimize health data access and patient engagement.

“Access to one’s own medical records is a crucial part of the digital transformation taking place in healthcare today, and enhances our relationship with our patients,” said Cleveland Clinic Director of Digital Health Peter Rasmussen, MD. “Our goal is to make that access as easy, convenient and useful as possible, placing patients firmly in the center of their own health data.”

Through MyChart and Health Records, Cleveland Clinic patients can view their allergy, condition, immunization, lab result, medication, procedure, and vitals information. Patients will receive notifications when their health data is updated.

While Health Records enables patients to view EHR data, MyChart allows for more active engagement.

In addition to giving patients access to EHR data, MyChart displays appointment information, physician notes, and hospital admission details. MyChart also allows patients to schedule appointments, request medication renewals, and securely message providers.

“When patients have direct access to their personal health information, they have the opportunity to live healthier lives,” said Cleveland Clinic Chief Medical Information Officer Amy Merlino, MD.

“They are able to track important health factors, such as weight or cholesterol or blood sugar, to determine their own personal trends over time,” she continued. “They are able to easily see a combined view of their information from multiple health systems, as well as have the ability to share their healthcare history with other providers.”

Cleveland Clinic includes more than 3,600 physicians and 14,000 nurses across 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. The nonprofit academic medical center includes 11 regional hospitals in addition to its main campus, as well as 150 outpatient locations.

Cleveland Clinic joins UC Irvine Health, Omni Dermatology, Mission Health, Kreptowski Family Practice, Innovative Express Care SC, and 22 other hospitals in working with Apple to allow patients to access EHR data through the Health Records feature.

The first wave of Apple Health Records participants signed on to the program in January 2018.

Early participants included Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and Cerner HealtheClinic.

Health Records is based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) specifications to enable users to aggregate and merge patient health data from disparate sources.

According to a May KLAS report, early adopters of the EHR data viewer predict the feature will have an immediate positive impact on patient engagement, interoperability, and health IT innovation.

Sixty-seven percent of surveyed health system executives said Apple Health Records will effective empower patients, while 58 percent said the feature will help to improve interoperability. About half of surveyed executives said the app will accelerate health IT innovation.

Apple is already taking steps to promote health IT innovation through the app. In June, Apple announced the Health Records application programming interface (API) is open to health IT innovators and researchers.

Developers and researchers are encouraged to create apps that leverage health record data to improve medication management, nutrition plan development, disease diagnosis, and other clinical processes.

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