Stanford launches patient app with Apple HealthKit integration

By Jonah Comstock
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Stanford healthkit appStanford Health Care, one of the few previously announced healthcare provider adopters of Apple HealthKit, has officially launched its patient-facing, HealthKit enabled iOS app this week.

The new iOS 8 app, called MyHealth, integrate with Epic and with Apple HealthKit. Although Epic itself is integrating with Apple, and many hospitals rely on Epic's MyChart app and portal for patient engagement, Stanford president and CEO Amir Dan Rubin suggested that Epic's out-of-the-box app wouldn't cut it for the hospital.

"At Stanford Health Care, we are reinventing how health care is delivered and our new custom MyHealth app is an important milestone in our efforts,” he said in a statement. “We provide care for some of the most technologically sophisticated patients in the country, whose lives revolve around innovation. After carefully evaluating all of the available mobile technologies, we recognized that to meet the needs and expectations of our patients we had to develop our own solution that worked seamlessly with our existing electronic health record system.” 

The app will allow patients to review test results and medical bills, manage prescriptions, schedule appointments, and conduct video visits with a Stanford physician, the latter via the hospital's ClickWell Care telemedicine service. But the most newsworthy feature is the Apple integration, which allows patients to upload vital signs and have them automatically and securely added to the patient's chart in Epic.

“The SHC MyHealth app allows patients to connect their lives with their health care,” Pravene Nath, MD, Chief Information Officer at Stanford, said in a statement. “By integrating with companies like Withings, our physicians have access to meaningful patient data right in Epic, without having to ask the patient come in for an appointment. We believe this is the future of how care will be delivered for many types of chronic conditions.”

Stanford's involvement with HealthKit was first reported by Reuters last fall and later confirmed by Apple CEO Tim Cook on a quarterly call with investors. It was reported that the hospital was working on a pilot tracking blood sugar levels of children with diabetes.

Reuters reported last fall that the Stanford pilot would begin with just two patients, who would use Dexcom continuous glucose monitors, and Stanford would set up alerts so they could notify patients immediately of a dangerous drop in blood sugar.

At the time, Dexcom was reportedly in the process of working with Apple and the FDA to integrate with HealthKit. Since then, Dexcom has improved the smartphone connectivity of its CGM greatly, and even promised an Apple Watch app, but there's no word on the HealthKit integration. Stanford officials said at the time that the pilot would be expanded quickly if no problems emerged.