As part of the iOS 11.3 preview, Apple today announced it’s enhancing the Health app’s fairly limited Health Records feature, which debuted in iOS 10, to make it easier for patients to access and control detailed medical information from the palm of their hand.

Apple first brought limited health record integration to the Health app nearly two years ago with iOS 10. CNBC mentioned last summer that the Cupertino tech giant was working on bringing comprehensive medical data integration to iPhone (see the video embedded below).

In the past, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring them to log into each care provider’s website and piece together the information manually.

According to the iPhone maker, the updated Health Records section in iOS 11.3’s Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and other data in one place to give patients a fuller snapshot of their health and let them see all of their available medical data from multiple providers.

From there, a patient’s medical records can be shared with a doctor on command.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s op-chief, said:

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. By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.

If you’re a patient of a participating medical institution, your medical data will be neatly organized into a single timeline view within Health, covering allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

What’s more, patients will receive handy notifications for their lab results, medications, conditions and more on a regular basis. Apple is committed to protecting user privacy: all medical records are safely encrypted and protected with your passcode.

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. Here’s the full list of medical institutions bringing support for this feature 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.

Apple worked with the healthcare community to base Health Records on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard that allows for easy transferring of electronic medical records.

Since iOS 10, the Health app has supported the older, less capable Health Level 7 Continuity of Care Document (HL7 CCD) standard allowing patients to store a fairly limited snapshot of HL7 CCD records in the Health app on their iPhone.

Making accessing medical records as simple as checking email is going to make a big difference, more so given the ability to see detailed medical data in a snapshot on your phone, including every doctor’s visit, lab test result, prescription and other health information.

It’s great to see Apple taking the lead in this space.

Are you looking forward to the aforesaid Health enhancements?

Let us know in the comments!