Former Apple Health director wants to free cancer patients' EHR data

After former Director of Apple Health Anil Sethi lost his sister to cancer, he devoted his career to improving patient health records so researchers and physicians could more easily leverage that information to provide better care — and hopefully find a cure for cancer, CNBC reports.

In pursuit of that mission, Mr. Sethi founded Ciitizen, a startup exploring ways to unlock cancer patients' data.

"When Tania [my sister] was sick, her doctors wanted to know a few things, like her labs," Mr. Sethi told CNBC. "These things were super important but not always easy to access."  

Ciitizen's goal is to develop technology that would make it easier for patients to access information such as labs, genomic test results and images from their EHRs so they can share it with other physicians or researchers. With these tools, cancer patients might be able to more easily join relevant clinical trials or identify promising therapies.

Ciitizen recently raised $3 million in a funding round led by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Partner Vijay Pande said providers often use privacy rules as an excuse not to share patient data, although HIPAA affords patients the right to access their own health information. Mr. Pande  wants to see this discouraging trend change and thinks Ciitizen may hold the key.

"In an age of data and modern machine learning, it shouldn't be so hard for this data to see the light of day," Mr. Pande wrote in a blog post.

Ciitizen plans to roll out a test version of its product later this year, CNBC reports.

More articles on EHRs:

Defense Department boosts Cerner contract by $1.1B
Epic, NextGen leaders to head EHR Association's executive committee this year
Apple Watch continues its shift to medical space with new patent

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