Apple's health records beta feature now available at 39 health systems

Apple expanded its iPhone's Health Records feature pilot to nearly 40 health systems across the U.S., including New York City-based NYU Langone Health, Stanford (Calif.) Medicine and San Diego-based Scripps Health, the company announced March 29.

"Apple has long been a leader in increasing consumer access to personal health information, and Scripps is excited to be part of this new initiative," Scripps Health CIO Andy Crowder tol Becker's Hospital Review. "This announcement is the latest example of how Scripps is expanding its patient-centered focus by providing more options for patients to access their medical data in a safe and secure way whenever and wherever they want to."

In January, Apple rolled out the iOS 11.3 beta update for the iPhone, in which its Health app included a "Health Records" section. The Health Records feature was previously only available to patients who opted to join the Apple Beta Software Program at the participating 12 hospitals. With the Health app's Health Records feature, patients who have medical information from multiple  institutions are able to organize their data in one bucket that contains allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. This lets patients share their up-to-date medical information with providers, caregivers or anyone else they choose.

Apple also worked with EHR vendors, including Cerner, Epic and athenahealth, to ensure the Health Records feature was compliant with Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources — the federal standard for data formats and elements that also functions as an application programming interface for exchanging electronic health records.

"We're seeing strong, early excitement from our client base tapping into the Apple Health Record, and look forward to rapidly scaling this across our cloud-based network of 111k providers and 106M patients," athenahealth co-founder and CEO Jonathan Bush told Becker's Hospital Review. "The continued liberation of data in healthcare is imperative — we must move beyond the islands of automation to fully connect patients, providers, payers and the ecosystem at large, but this one of the many ways we are seeing true network effect take hold."

Physicians who've been piloting  Apple's Health Records said it's a vast improvement from the days when patients would drag stacks of paper or bags of medications from clinic to clinic  to explain their care needs. "People hand you all sorts of things these days," Robert Harrington, MD, cardiologist and chairman of the department of medicine at Stanford. "And more data is almost never bad, but when they show up with paper, how do you summate that?"

Dr. Harrington added "any time you can put information in patients' and doctors' hands and allow there to be more informed decision making, that is the best of all." Because so many other industries enable technological access to data, a platform like Health Records is "an important maneuver for patient empowerment and the way the world needs to be," he said.

Here are the all hospitals participating in Apple's Health Records program, as listed on Apple's website.

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States

  • AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, N.J.
  • Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore
  • LifeBridge Health in Baltimore
  • NYU Langone Health in New York City
  • Partners HealthCare in Boston
  • Penn Medicine in Philadelphia
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia
  • Valley Medical Group in Amherst, Mass.
  • Yale New Haven Health and Yale Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

Midwest

  • Cerner Healthe Clinic in Kansas City, Mo.
  • CoxHealth in Springfield, Mo.
  • Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Nebraska Methodist Health System in Omaha, Neb.
  • OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio
  • Rush University Medical Center in Chicago
  • Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio
  • Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo.
  • UC Irvine Health in Orange, Calif.
  • The University of Chicago Medicine

South

  • Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
  • BayCare Health System in Clearwater, Fla.
  • Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C.
  • MedStar Health in Columbia, Md.
  • Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn.
  • Mission Health in Asheville, N.C.
  • Ochsner Health System in New Orleans
  • Ortho Virginia in Richmond, Va.
  • The San Antonio Orthopaedics Group
  • UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
  • WVU Medicine in Morgantown, W. Va.

West

  • Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles
  • Dignity Health in San Francisco
  • Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
  • Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Wash.
  • Scripps Health in San Diego
  • Stanford (Calif.) Medicine
  • UC San Diego Health

Editor's Note: This story was updated March 30, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. to include a comment from participating EHR vendor athenahealth. 

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