Cedars-Sinai launches Apple Watch app for patients

By Jonah Comstock
Share

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has launched an Apple Watch app to go along with its existing patient-facing app. Patients with Apple Watches will now be able to find hospital and urgent care locations, get directions to the hospital, and even to call a recently-searched doctor, all from the wrist.

Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin told MobiHealthNews that he sees those functions as just the beginning.

"In the Watch itself, we’re super excited because it opens up a ton of new opportunities for us," Dworkin said. "Especially as we start to think the Watch is getting better and better at measuring and monitoring, there’s a whole bunch of things we can sort of add into it."

The Watch app pairs with Cedars-Sinai's comprehensive patient app, which originally launched in 2015. The app helps patients to find a doctor or find a care location, can connect the user to their care team and to their medical records, and will allow them to check lab results and schedule appointments. It also integrates with Apple Health, allowing users to track different aspects of their health to report to the doctor on their next visit. In fact, Cedars-Sinai was one of the first hospitals to integrate with Apple HealthKit.

"We have patients that have been tracking certain things for a very long time, but as we digitize, it’s no longer patients keeping track of, for example, blood glucose measurements in a notebook and then sharing the results in an Excel spreadsheet," Dworkin said. "It’s now being able to upload it directly into the record and talk with their physician about what happened, when, and if there’s any concerns around it. And we think progressively that's going to get easier and easier as we move across all these different platforms."

Cedars-Sinai's strategy around the Apple Watch, the phone app, and the website is "trying to match the right functionality with the right modality at the right time", in Dworkin's words. Specifically, he sees opportunities to use the Apple Watch for small nudges and notifications.

"Part of what we’re experimenting with is these mobile moments and where they belong," he said. "What sort of things do you want to get an alert where you go into the patient portal in a content-rich area, vs what might just be ‘Hey it’s time to take your med,’ which might be just a ping which is more adaptable onto the Watch. We think it’s really important to play across all those different modalities and I think we’re trying to be really thoughtful about what makes sense for each one."

In addition to new functionalities for the Apple Watch, the Cedars-Sinai team is also looking to bring the platform to Android wearables, though doing so may take some time.

"We very much recognize that we have to be across the ecosystem, so on the mobile side we have an Android app and an iOS app, but at the same time I’ll give Apple a ton of credit," Dworkin said. "They’ve made the toolkits and working with the Watch easier. So that’s where we started. We’re still working through the Android side of it, but we think we’re going to get there."