Few patients use smartphone apps to access health records, study finds 

Despite a federal push to increase patients' access to their medical data with application programming interfaces and smartphone-based apps, only a small number of patients who use their provider's EHR patient portal are also using APIs to send the data to their smartphones, according to a recent study

For the Aug. 14 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, UC San Francisco and UC San Diego Health researchers analyzed 12 health systems that allowed patients to download their health records to their smartphones. Each of the organizations had to have offered patients the feature for at least nine months. The health systems all use an Epic EHR, and researchers collected data from March 2018 through December 2018. 

Study authors found that about 0.7 percent of patients who log into their healthcare provider's patient portal also use APIs to send their health data to their smartphones. However, there was an increase in the number of patients who accessed their information through APIs, at a rate  of 156 unique new users per month per health system. 

Study authors concluded the report's findings may be limited because the analysis only included early adopters using a single EHR vendor. 

Technology giant Apple has released initiatives to streamline users' access to their health records. In 2018, the company launched its Health Records feature, which uses fast healthcare interoperability resources APIs to integrate with health systems' EHRs and store the data in an iPhone-based app. More than 200 hospitals and health systems offer the feature. 

To access the full report, click here

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