Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Apple Health app will link to your medical records (thanks to FHIR)

Apple recently announced that its mobile Health app will link to electronic health record (EHR) systems. This will allow patients/consumers access to their personal health record (PHR). While companies like Microsoft launched PHR platforms such as HealthVault a number of years ago, most of these PHRs were not linked to EHRs. Tethered PHRs became available when patient portals were launched by hospitals, health systems, and clinics to meet the CMS Meaningful Use requirements.

It seems that we're finally entering an era where advances such the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) Specification and other interoperability standards will allow patients and providers to link critical health information.

From the Apple Announcement:
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. 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.
FHIR is finally allowing true interoperability to become a reality. It took a while for health care to achieve this, but I'm sure we'll see tremendous momentum as more developers build apps that leverage FHIR.

We can also expect to see some very interesting days ahead as Amazon dives into health care. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan are joining forces to "fix" health care in our country. They're doing to start by fixing health care for their own employees, but I'm sure other large organizations will watch them closely and adopt key lessons from their successes.

Empowering patients with their own health information is one of the first steps to fixing health care in this country. As caregivers also gain access to critical health information, this may lead to more coordinated and effective care delivery (especially for those living in the "sandwich generation" and caring for their own children and their aging parents).

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