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Apple announces health records feature for iPhone

The revamped Health Records section makes it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose.

Apple announces health records feature for iPhone

Apple introduced an important update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta, enabling users to see their medical records right on their iPhone. The revamped 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.

What's more, Apple has also managed to corner several big health systems on board, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and a few other hospitals and clinics, which are making this beta feature available to their patients.

Apple is trying to make users' health records easily accessible through a single app; as opposed to logging into several web portals and piecing together the information manually. To make this possible, Cook & Co. 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.

As a result, consumers got one view covering allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, as well as 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," Jeff Williams, Apple's COO, said 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."

According Stephanie Reel, CIO at Johns Hopkins Medicine, this approach can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one. A similar sentiment is shared by Darren Dworkin, CIO at Cedars-Sinai, who added that 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.

The new Health Records section is available to the patients of the following medical institutions as part of the iOS 11.3 beta.

  • 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

In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records offering their patients access to this feature.

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