Will the Apple EHR fulfill its promises? Eventually, but it's starting small

Informatics experts gathered for a briefing on Capitol Hill April 10 to discuss the Apple Health records feature, noting the tool may not be as all-encompassing as some reports have suggested, according to Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

The American Medical Informatics Association hosted the briefing to discuss the Apple initiative, and it invited Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger's Chief Informatics Officer Alistair Erskine, MD, to speak. Geisinger is one of the 39 health systems using the feature, and Apple worked directly with EHR-giants Epic, Cerner and athenahealth to integrate patients' data with the app if they opt in to the system.

Dr. Erskine explained the initial launch only applies to certain information, like allergies, medications and lab results. Patients using the app will not have access, at this time, to their full clinical notes, and the feature is only available to patients who own an Apple device — those with Android phones are left out. It will take some time before "the things we're talking about doing at scale are really feasible," he said, according to Politico.

At the briefing, Cerner's Senior Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy Meg Marshall added one of those features may be giving patients access to their longitudinal progress, though that record is not yet available on the app, Politico reports.

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