Health Data

When Apple released iOS 11.3, they quietly announced the beta of a new feature within the Health app.

From Apple -

With the Health app in iOS 11.3, a new beta feature makes it easier than ever for users to visualize and securely store their health records. Now your patients can aggregate their health records from multiple institutions alongside their patient-generated data, creating a more holistic view of their health.

To me this is fascinating. One of the big problems with health records is that they are almost always isolated to whatever healthcare system you use. With rare exceptions, if you see a doctor in one system, and for whatever reason need to see another doctor in a different system (different state, or sometimes your work may change medical plans), the second doctor can’t directly see any information about your first visit. Sometimes they can request those records, but it’s often a surprisingly manual task for all that are involved.

Apple isn’t solving all of the problem, at least yet, but another big problem is how difficult it can be to view your own medical records. Sure, you have the “right” to, but that doesn’t mean anyone is going to make it easy for you. At least until now.

If your medical provider (or multiple providers) support Apple’s new Health feature, it will import and organize all the data for you. It presents it in a clean, easy to understand manner, and if it’s importing from multiple sources, it will even combine the data for you.

Nation wide, many providers don’t support this feature yet, but they are being added at a surprisingly good clip. I noticed this evening that my provider, Intermountain Healthcare, was on the list, so I gave it a shot. One quick login to my online account and everything populated in a matter of minutes. It’s remarkably simple. Within a few more minutes of looking at my data, I could quickly see all my doctors appointments, medication, lab results, etc, and it all made sense to me.

This by no means solves the whole problem with medical records, but I think it’s a huge step in the right direction. It may seem like a weird thing to get excited about, but I’m excited about it. Now that my medical records are stored on my phone, I’m even more glad Apple takes an obsessive approach to individual privacy. I’m hopeful this is just the first step in Apple trying to revolutionize even a small part of the medical system.

Check here to see the list of supported providers.