Apple’s Health Records expands to nearly 80 medical providers

Apple’s Health Records feature that debuted within iOS 11.3’s Health app now supports more than 75 different hospitals, clinics and medical providers in the United States.

Accessible through the stock Health app on iPhone under the Health Data section, Health Records lets the user authenticate with a supported provider and access their continually updated medical data from the palm of their hand.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai and Penn Medicine were among the first 12 health system participants to make this feature available to their patients. Health Records has since grown to include almost 80 participants that include hundreds of hospitals and clinics.

As EHR Intelligence reported yesterday, Apple has recently updated its list of healthcare institutions that support Health Records ahead of a talk that its Clinical and Health Informatics chief Ricky Bloomfield, M.D. gave at the ONC 2nd Interoperability Forum.

To realize Health Records, Apple has implement an existing standard from an international health organization. It’s using the Argonaut project, which is a subset of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) specification by Health Level Seven (HL7), an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization.

Using FHIR, the Health app uses an OAuth sign-in page to connect with a supported system and collect medical data securely to display on the user’s iPhone.

Bloomfield explained during the presentation:

If I tap on all records, this represents a single longitudinal record which is easy to understand, secure and updated automatically. When this connection happens to the health system, it’s an enduring link. When new records are available, those records are automatically downloaded to your device.

That significantly reduces the friction typically associated with accessing your health information where you need to remember your credentials, log in and then get the information. And when you have new information, you may get an email that there’s new information, but you still need to log in to access the information.

So when you actually need it—when you’re at clinic trying to fill out that form—it’ll be right there in your pocket. This is a testament to what happens when you adhere to a standard that folks agree on a very strict way to implement it.

Users can choose to see all FHIR data in raw form or present the various stats (stuff like allergies, vital signs, conditions, immunizations, medications, labs and procedures and more) using data visualizations. The pretty charts can highlight any values that are out of range, given a reference range is provided from the health system.

Patients, needless to say, have full control over who can access data: any sensitive medical information stays private on the device until they decide to share it.

In a demo, Bloomfield used the Health Records feature to connect with UNC Health Care.

The Health app connected directly to UNC’s FHIR end point—a standard FHIR endpoint—and securely downloaded the records directly from that health system. The data that was there did not traverse any Apple servers. It was a direct connection from UNC to the phone I’m holding.

Health Records debuted in a fairly limited fashion alongside iOS 10 two years ago.

To make it even simpler for patients to access their medical data on the go, Apple earlier this year introduced several enhancements to the Health Records feature in iOS 11.3.

iOS 11.3 was the first iOS edition to bring medical providers in the Health app.

And with the expanded Health Records, you can now enjoy even fuller snapshots of your health, access relevant medical data from multiple providers on your iPhone and more.

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Have you tried Health Records yet?

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