iPhone Users Can View Their Health Records Through the Apple Health App

Patients are being encouraged to obtain copies of their health records and to take a more active role in their own healthcare. Many hospitals are now providing patients with access to some of their health records through patient portals. Apple has now taken ease of access one step further. The company’s Health app has been updated to include a section that allows users to view their medical records directly on their iPhones.

The health app will show allergies, test results, diagnoses, procedures, immunizations, and medications and other health information that is typically available through patient portals. When new information is added to patients’ records, they will receive a notification from the app.

The Health app is available with iOS 11.3, and is based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) – a standard for transferring and sharing electronic medical records. Data transmitted to the user’s iPhone is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access, and the app is protected by the user’s iPhone passcode to keep the records confidential.

Participating hospitals and clinics will be able to use the system to push out health records directly to patients who have installed the app on their iPhones. The beta version of the updated app is currently being tested at 12 hospitals, including those run by Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Geisinger Health System, and Penn Medicine. After the app has been fully tested, other healthcare providers will be signed up.

“We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone. By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time,” said Darren Dworkin, Chief Information Officer at Cedars-Sinai. “We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones. Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond.”

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” said Stephanie Reel, Chief Information Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email.”

Hospitals currently participating in the Health Records app are:

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cedars-Sinai – Los Angeles, California
  • Penn Medicine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Geisinger Health System – Danville, Pennsylvania
  • UC San Diego Health – San Diego, California
  • UNC Health Care – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Rush University Medical Center – Chicago, Illinois
  • Dignity Health – Arizona, California and Nevada
  • Ochsner Health System – Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  • MedStar Health –  Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia
  • OhioHealth – Columbus, Ohio
  • Cerner Health e Clinic – Kansas City, Missouri

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.