The Commons Project's free personal health record for Android now supported by 230 health systems

Called CommonHealth, the platform is designed as an alternative to Apple's Health Records for those outside of the iOS ecosystem.
By Dave Muoio
02:28 pm
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The Commons Project announced Friday that its free personal health record system for Android devices is supported by 230 U.S. health systems and is on track to add another 110 or so providers before the end of 2020.

Called CommonHealth, the tool was developed and piloted by the University of California San Francisco and other systems as far back as September of last year and picked up an integration with LabCorp just a couple months ago. With it, individuals can securely receive copies of their health records from participating organizations logging their healthcare encounters, procedures, test results and other information.

Although CommonHealth is currently live for the 230 health systems, a representative for the Commons Project told MobiHealthNews that each is at a different stage of the adoption and may not have rolled out the tool to their provider groups quite yet.

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WHY IT MATTERS

The Commons Project positions its tool as a complement to Apple's work on the Health Records features, which has worked similarly with a number of health systems to ensure an easy and secure flow of personal health data. But because Apple's platform is restricted to iOS users, another system was necessary to serve the larger segment of the smartphone market.

“The COVID pandemic has accelerated the need for the safe sharing of health data as medical consultations go online and individuals are required to demonstrate COVID test and vaccination status in order to travel, work, study and undertake other social activities,” J.P. Pollak, cofounder and chief architect at the Commons Project, said in a statement.

“CommonHealth extends the privacy-centered data portability and interoperability model pioneered by Apple Health to the 55 percent of Americans who have Android devices.”

Also worth noting is that the new connections with providers' EHR systems comes during the run-up to enforcement of CMS' patient health-sharing rules, which were finalized at the beginning of the year and are currently slated to go into effect by next July.

Among the new requirements for providers and plans will be support for standardized APIs that allow patients to access information regarding their care through third-party apps – such Apple Health and CommonHealth.

THE LARGER TREND

A handful of app-based personal health record projects have come and gone over the years, albeit usually with fewer direct integrations with health systems' records. Among big tech, both Google and Microsoft had fairly large-scale shutdowns in the form of Google Health and HealthVault.

On the startup side, Embleema and Ciitizen received funding within the past couple of years, while Backpack Health added new support for transgender and non-binary users to its platform in 2019.

The Commons Project also pulled back the curtain on another app-based health tool called CommonPass. Jointly developed with the World Economic Forum, the app serves as digital documentation of an individual's COVID-19 status for use when traveling internationally.

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