Apple adds medical records to its Health app

Apple plans to integrate patient health records into its Health app in an attempt to make it easier for consumers to review their medical data from multiple providers, the company announced Wednesday.

In the latest iOS 11.3 beta, iPhone Health apps will include a "Health Records" section. Patients who have medical information from various institutions will be able to organize their data in one bucket that covers allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. This will enable patients to share their up-to-date medical information with providers, caregivers or anyone else they choose. Users will also receive notifications when their data is updated.

The health records section of the app is based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources guidelines, a standard for transferring electronic medical records. Apple will not see the data unless the user elects to share it, Apple COO Jeff Williams told CNBC.

"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," Mr. Williams said in a press release. "By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives."

Apple is also working with EHR vendors like Epic, Cerner and athenahealth to better integrate records with the iPhone while abiding by FHIR protocols. The vendors "have been an enabling, and not a blocking factor, and we appreciate that," Kevin Lynch, Apple's vice president of technology, told CNBC.

"We're pleased to be a part of this collaboration as Apple works to make health data more accessible, portable and interoperable for patients,"  Epic's Vice President of Patient Engagement Janet Campbell told Becker's Hospital Review.

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine, Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai, Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine and nine other participating hospitals are among the first to make this beta feature available to their patients.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Jan. 24, 2018 at 11:07 a.m. to include a statement from Epic.

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