Apple has recently announced its decision to launch a Health Records API for developers and researchers, which will enable the development of a new ecosystem of apps that use health record data to better manage medications, nutrition plans, diagnosed diseases and more.
The Health Records feature allows patients of more than 500 hospitals and clinics to access medical information from various institutions organised into one view on their iPhone. For the first time, consumers will be able to share medical records from multiple hospitals with their favourite trusted apps, helping them improve their overall health.
“Medical information may be the most important personal information to a consumer and offering access to Health Records was the first step in empowering them. Now, with the potential of Health Records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health,” explained Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer.
“With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalise their health needs with the apps they use every day.”
However, to mitigate any potential healthcare beaches of confidential information, all health records data will be encrypted and protected under the consumer’s iPhone passcode. When consumers choose to share their health record data with trusted apps, the data flows directly from HealthKit to the third-party app and is not sent to Apple’s servers, providing further security.
Whilst patients can access their medical records in one view, developers building health apps can individualise experiences with the user’s permission, based on the user’s unique health history across key categories, including:
Medication Tracking: Medisafe, a medication management app, will connect with the Health Records feature so consumers can easily import their prescription list without manual entry, quickly enabling pill reminders and allowing the user to receive relevant medication information.
Medisafe will be able to warn patients of problematic drug-drug interactions because they have the comprehensive view of the patient’s exact medication list from several hospitals and clinics.
Disease Management: A diabetes app could access a patient’s lab results from their Health Records as well as their diet and exercise details through the existing iOS HealthKit integration, allowing for a more complete picture of the consumer and the best ways to encourage them to stay on track.
Nutrition Planning: A healthy eating app could offer consumers tailored programmes based on their high blood pressure or cholesterol results by serving up low salt or high fiber meal plans.
Medical Research: With the new Health Records API, doctors can integrate patient medical data into their ResearchKit study apps for a more complete view of their participants’ health background. Traditionally, researchers used arduous survey questionnaires to determine pre-existing conditions, which puts the burden on the patient to remember the details.
Now, with the participants’ approval, researchers can access that patient-specific information to ensure more comprehensive research. This integration continues Apple’s commitment to providing the medical community with ResearchKit tools that