Heal, a company that allows patients to book physician house calls through an app-driven digital scheduling and processing platform, today announced support for Apple’s personal health record platform. Now, patients using an iPhone can share records from Apple Health Record-compatible hospitals with the Heal doctor conducting the house call, helping to better inform their medical decisions.
Patients consent to share their data within the app after booking an appointment, with relevant medical data then surfaced on the iPad app interface used by Heal’s doctors. These records are not stored on the doctor’s iPad, but are instead kept on Heal’s HIPAA-compliant servers.
"We’ve had a long relationship with Apple,” Heal CEO and cofounder Nick Desai told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been working with them for months on a number of different projects and they specifically told us about this initiative because, remember, this isn’t just your primary care doctor in an office having access to your hospital health records but still missing the critical component of what’s happening in your house. This is your home, you environment, your medications, your home doctor, and your hospital’s records working together [to] increase the quality and access to care you have; to fundamentally lower costs and keep people out of the hospital."
Patients can use Heal’s app or website to request a licensed doctor for routine illness or urgent care seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Appointments are, on average, more than twice the length of the national average, with much of the back-end administrative work — such as doctor assignments, credit card charges and prescriptions — handled automatically.
Why it matters
As research firm KLAS noted in its May 2018 report, Apple Health Records has the potential to impact millions of patients given the iPhone’s broad customer base and dozens of participating hospitals. Supporting the service within its own app-based platform will save patients the hassle of tracking down and sharing their health information, improve their overall care and cut costs for the healthcare system at large, Desai said.
“One of the holy grails of healthcare has been coordinating outpatient care … with hospital-based care, and it’s a very difficult thing to do,” Desai said. “We are the first outpatient provider — to my understanding the only outpatient provider — that can not only deliver house calls, but actually see that person’s previous hospital records including their medications, including why they went to the hospital in the first place, including why their vital signs at the hospital, and including the medications the doctor put them on. So when our doctor goes to their house, now our house call is infinitely more valuable than it normally is because we can see the patient’s previous medical records and then actually evaluate those against the conditions of the patients in the home.”
What’s the trend
The number of hospitals and health systems that support Apple’s personal health record platform has grown since its launch earlier this year. The consumer tech company also released a Health Records API in June, with the goal of allowing more developers to create apps for healthcare, medication, nutrition and general wellness management.
Heal, for its part, kicked off the year with the launch of Wellbe, an in-home device that collects data from more than 100 siloed medical tools and provides these to Heal’s physicians. In May, the house call company raised $20 million in new investment capital, bringing its total to more than $69 million.
On the record
“Any records that are in our system, we give you a care plan and access to the records directly from our system. The thinking is if you use Heal and then never use Heal again, you will always have access to those records. We believe that patients should be in control of their records, just as we believe in price transparency,” Desai said.