U.S. iPhone owners are no longer the only ones with access to Apple's Health Records. This morning the tech giant announced its personal health record (PHR) feature is now available in the U.K. and Canada.
There are five healthcare provider groups that have made the tool available to their patients right off the bat: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., and Women's College Hospital, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Mackenzie Health in Canada.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
Launched back in 2018 for the U.S., the Apple Health Records feature lives within iPhone owners' Health app. It aggregates data from a patient's EHR with other daily health and wellness information collected in the app, acting as a single record of the user's medications, immunizations, procedure history, clinical vitals and more.
The system is built using FHIR-standard APIs and developed so that the PHR can only be viewed by inputting the iPhone's passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, and also by the healthcare organization via a direct, encrypted connection.
Apple and its provider partners say that the presence of these tools within an everyday consumer device can not only help patients better understand their personal health, but also give them a more active role in directing the care they receive.
“At NHSX, we are committed to giving patients access to their own records so they can take charge of their healthcare,” Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX, said in a statement. “The launch of Health Records on iPhone in the UK is a positive step and joins a number of initiatives across the NHS to put patients in the driving seat.”
THE LARGER TREND
A number of major tech companies including Google and Microsoft have attempted to introduce PHRs over the years, but so far Apple's iteration seems to have more staying power than its predecessors.
Apple said today that more than 500 U.S. institutions across 11,000 are currently supporting Health Records, including some major public provider organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to working with major EHR vendors like Allscripts, Epic, Cerner and InterSystems to integrate the tool and enable its functionality both domestically and abroad, the company has also seen support for its PHR platform from remote-monitoring and virtual-health startups such as One Drop and Heal, to name a few.
ON THE RECORD
“We designed Health Records on iPhone to empower people to easily view their health records at any time, and we are thrilled to put this feature in the hands of customers in the UK and Canada," Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of technology, said in a statement.
“We believe people should have access to their health information in the most private and secure way, and we have worked hand in hand with healthcare institutions and organizations to put privacy at the center of the patient experience.”