“Apple today introduced a significant update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta, debuting a feature for customers to see their medical records right on their iPhone” 24 January 2018, Apple Newsroom
Since June 2010 we have been providing Facetime Video Consults with registered Doctors (in the UK and Ireland where our Doctors are registered) via 3G Doctor and it’s abundantly clear that the value and usefulness that the independent impartial advice of a registered Doctor could offer to billions of Patients has been undermined by the lack of access Patients have to their Medical Records.
I’m fortunate to be working with incredible Clinicians who have been giving their Patients full access to their medical records for 30+ years but it’s an understatement to say that I’m overjoyed to learn that the world’s leading mobile brand has followed on from it’s promises to prioritise mHealth and Patients and is going to start making it normal for Patients to have and carry their own medical records.
“Apple today introduced a significant update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta, debuting a feature for customers to see their medical records right on their iPhone. The updated 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… …In the past, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log into each care provider’s website and piece together the information manually. Apple 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”
Imagine what this means for all the Medical Schools and Post Graduate Training Bodies that are still not training and examining medics with Mobiles? I’m sure some medics still think they’ll get by with printed text and drug reference books but the reality is they are now working in a world where not only do their Patients have better access to medical information but soon they will also have better access to their own medical record information.
“Now, consumers will have medical information from various institutions organized into one view covering allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, and will receive notifications when their data is updated. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode”
Just as they managed a few years ago with Clinical Trials, Apple has just enabled the world’s largest and most effective Health Record feedback and rating system. While Hospitals waste millions (hundreds of millions in some cases) lugging COWs (Computers on Wheels) about it’s now pretty obvious that the smartest people in the world of Healthcare IT are now going to be working to enhance Apple’s Health Record ecosystem and Patients will soon be able to do you a favour and spare your energy by lending you their iPhone.
“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 Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives”
I think Apple will quickly appreciate that they need to do more than just hope:
Many Clinicians find it completely foreign and very challenging to share Health Records with Patients/Carers. Even Medical Students in the world’s most expensive Medical Schools think it makes them look incompetent to use a handheld supercomputer in front of a Patient. At scale Apple should start supporting the training of Medics so that they can help the Patients and Carers who they have now empowered with information (plenty of tips about that in the mHealth for Healthcare Professionals course that I developed for the Healthcare Informatics Society).
Many Patients will uncover problems and have concerns about the Health Records and helping understand and rectify these issues will not be served well by the 2,000 year old office visit only model. Until now most of the ‘Call a Doctor’ services have been about marketing health insurance or running rings around Primary Care and selling prescriptions cheaply to ‘Customers’ but things will now rapidly evolve. In this talk I gave at Doctors 2.0 in Paris I explained current best practice and how I think the consultation needs to evolve to help Patients who have concerns about information:
“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” said Stephanie Reel, Chief Information Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email… …“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. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones. 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,” said Darren Dworkin, Chief Information Officer at Cedars-Sinai.”
If an institution like Johns Hopkins (that has committed more than $1.5Billion implementing EPIC) and Cedars-Sinai can say this it’s safe to say: Medical records are now just another thing you do with your mobile.
“The new Health Records section is available to the patients of the following medical institutions as part of the iOS 11.3 beta. In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records offering their patients access to this feature. Further information for health institutions is available here. …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 Centre – 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”
It’s always great to see innovation being rewarded with the support of the world’s biggest Hospitals but now they’re firmly holding Apple’s hand imagine how easy it will be for the Clinicians there to introduce innovative mHealth services.