Apple OS Update Gives Doctors Access to Health Data
With the launch of the new iOS this week, some iPhone users will have the opportunity to use Apple’s health data sharing feature on the Health App to directly share data with their physicians through their EHRs (electronic health records).
This iOS 15 integration will initially involve six leading EHR companies: Athenahealth, Allscripts, CPSI, Cerner, DrChrono, and Meditech Expanse. Some of these EHR companies say that doctors and healthcare providers are eager to begin using this feature.
During a press release in June when the Health App debuted, an Apple official said, “Having meaningful chats with a physician about routine activities during an appointment is a crucial part of managing your wellbeing, but it can be challenging to remember all the details.”
This week Apple also announced that iOS 15 would allow Apple users to store certifiable health records in the Health App. “In an imminent software update, users can opt to add certifiable COVID vaccination records as a vaccination pass in Apple Wallet to present in offices, event venues among other places.”
Why Is This a Major Breakthrough?
Persons who use Apple’s health data sharing feature on the Health App can allow doctors to see their heart rate, detected falls, hours of sleep, time spent exercising, among other variables. This data can help physicians keep a closer eye on metrics that could be vital to a person’s health even without the person having to share the data during physical clinic visits.
iPhone users can also share data at their discretion with other iPhone users, such as partners, family members, or other people who might find the data helpful. Apple says for the person getting this data; “The data is presented with highlighted trends and meaningful insights.”
What Have the Various EHR companies said Regarding This Breakthrough?
DrChrono intends to roll out this Health App feature to a select set of users before gradually expanding to its entire client base, which includes about 4,000 medical practitioners. DrChrono can track how often this feature is utilized.
DrChrono’s chief operating officer and co-founder, Daniel Kivatinos, says that the company plans on collecting data on how many of their clients end up uploading data from their Health App to DrChrono’s platform.
Kivatinos also says that the company has gotten feedback from medical practitioners that they are very excited at the prospect of carrying out remote patient monitoring.
Cerner, another EHR firm that controls about a quarter of the online medical records markets, says that any healthcare organizations that use its records will have to strike a balance between time spent implementing new features against time spent managing COVID spikes.
The Vice President of interoperability at the company Sam Lambson says they are interested in this feature. He goes on to say, “once our client health care providers have seen a demo and understood it, the questions that follow mostly center around how quickly they can get the feature and implement it for remote monitoring.”
Tina Joros, the general manager and vice president at Allscripts, says that a small number of healthcare providers that use online medical records from the company have already been using this feature as part of a testing stage.
Joros says, “For the moment, they can use it on a select group of people. They’ve got all the tech in place, and when it’s available for all patients, they will start advertising it to them.” One test group is especially thrilled about the new feature of viewing patient information from an at-home blood pressure checker.
The doctors employed by these healthcare providers usually recommend a specific brand of blood pressure monitors to patients who they’d like to monitor between appointments. These monitors are already synced to Apple’s Health App.
So if a patient decides to share their data, the physicians will be able to directly track their blood pressure readings instead of relying on physical visits where they themselves record the blood pressure. Joros says, “It surely helps the information come full circle.”
However, some doctors are concerned about information overload, but these EHR companies are confident that the layout of the interface within the Health App will make the flow of information less overwhelming.