Apple’s health data-sharing feature is now live in the latest version of iOS, allowing some users to give their clinicians information from their phone’s Health app via their electronic health records.
The integration will initially work with six major EHR companies: Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, DrChrono and Meditech Expanse.
“Having meaningful conversations with a doctor about everyday activities during a visit is a key part of managing health, but it can be difficult to remember the details,” said Apple during a press release about the new feature in June.
Apple also announced on Tuesday that iOS 15 will allow users to store verifiable health records in the Health app, based on the SMART Health Cards specification.
“In an upcoming software update, they can also choose to add verifiable COVID-19 vaccination records as a vaccination card in Apple Wallet to present to businesses, venues and more,” said the company.
WHY IT MATTERS
Patients at participating hospitals and health systems were already able to view data about immunizations, lab results, medications and vitals directly in the Health app. Now, the new feature allows information to flow in the opposite direction.
“Users in the U.S. can choose to share certain types of health data – like heart rate, detected falls, hours of sleep, or exercise minutes – with their doctor for more informed conversations,” said the company.
Users can also share information at their discretion with other Apple users, such as family members, partners or other individuals who may find it beneficial.
“For the person receiving this information, shared data is presented with important insights and trends highlighted,” said Apple.
The Health app uses the SMART on FHIR framework, which allows it to more easily integrate with EHRs.
THE LARGER TREND
The company has rolled out several other Health features with its iOS 15 update, including walking steadiness biomarkers, explanations of what lab results mean, biking-related fall detection on the Apple watch and new Fitness+ classes.
It’s all emblematic of the move toward a more integrated, longitudinal picture of health for digitally savvy individuals.
But with more devices, inevitably, comes a higher degree of security risk. Just last week, Apple Healthkit was revealed as a major source in a non-password protected database of 61 million records containing data from fitness trackers and wearables.
ON THE RECORD
“This past year has emphasized the importance of health, and we’re enabling our users to take a more active role in their wel-being. We’ve added powerful features that give users the most comprehensive set of insights to better understand their health trends over time,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in June, in a statement.
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