Behind the Apple Health partnership: Allscripts CEO Paul Black shares key insights

Allscripts announced its partnership this month with Apple Health Records, extending the service to its Sunrise, TouchWorks and Professional EHR clients.

Through Apple's Health Records application, patients can access their health data directly from their iPhones. The feature is built on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, which is a standard for transferring electronic health records. Apple launched Health Records in January 2018 at a select group of U.S. hospitals.

Some of Allscripts clients that have already begun participating in early testing of the feature include Sharp HealthCare, Blessing Health System and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System.

Here, Mr. Black discusses the inspiration behind Allscripts' partnership with the technology giant as well as his hopes for future growth of the collaboration.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: How did Allscripts' partnership with Apple come about? 

Paul Black: We founded the 'open' architectural approach in the healthcare information technology industry through our application development program in 2007, years ahead of Direct, consolidated clinical document architecture and FHIR. Apple was aware of Allscripts' history of open APIs and ability to support the FHIR standard and reached out to work with us on connecting with Apple Health Records for our clients. Interestingly enough, 2007 was the year Apple introduced the iPhone.

We are dedicated to a patient-empowering approach based upon FHIR. We value and support patients as active participants in their own health. Of course, our focus on patient empowerment supports the need for increased data in this value-based environment, which, along with patient involvement, will optimize health outcomes and enable patients to live healthier lives cost effectively.  

Q: What roadblocks do you anticipate with the new collaboration? 

PB: We don't anticipate any roadblocks in supporting this integration for our clients. We are committed to continuing to support and mature our FHIR resources and capabilities for all patient-facing FHIR applications, which includes but is not limited to, the Apple Health Records solution. 

Q: How do you hope to see the partnership grow in the future? 

PB: We look for growth to come from more patients benefiting from this collaboration through increased publicity. Additionally, we look forward to offering the Health Records integration to our international clients when it is available.

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