Smartphone users checking medical records on their devices have been wading through a balkanized landscape of apps and websites for each health care provider or hospital.
Apple is looking to change all that by bringing it all under one roof.
Apple announced Wednesday that in its iOS update coming in the spring, the Health app will streamline medical records from a dozen medical facilities across the United States. In the new Health Records feature, users will be able to see their records containing allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications and others in a single app. The app will also send notifications when the information is updated.
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“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 Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams. “By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.”
Of the 12 facilities that have signed up, only one is available in the Bay Area: Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based health care provider that offers services in California, Nevada and Arizona.
Other partnering facilities in California include Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and UC San Diego Health in San Diego.
“We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones,” said Cedars-Sinai Chief Information Officer Darren Dworkin. “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.”
Apple says the medical records inside the Health app will be encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcodes. Health Records was created based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), an industry-wide data standard for transferring medical records online, according to Apple.
Apple will not see any users’ medical information unless users choose to share it with the company, according to the New York Times.
Health Records is Apple’s latest foray into medical care. Apple has already launched ResearchKit, CareKit and HealthKit, separate software platforms that allow medical researchers and professionals to better build iOS apps that collect data and provide better information to its customers.
In November, Apple teamed up with Stanford Medicine to conduct an Apple Watch study to collect heart rhythm data and potentially notify users who may have atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac disorder that makes the heart beat irregularly and have poor blood flow.
In September, Apple was chosen with Samsung, Fitbit and other tech companies by the Food and Drug Administration for a trial program allowing the companies to skip certain regulations to expedite innovation.
Photo: An Apple logo outside an Apple store in San Francisco on Sept. 22, 2017. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Tags: Apple, digital health, iPhone, medical records