There is a good probability health records will be available on Apple smartphones. There was a case where a physician changed his patients blood pressure medication. The problem was the man had already taken the new medication a few years earlier and it was ineffective. The patient did not remember having taken the medication previously.
Apple is planning on releasing an iOS update that will enable Apple users to view their medical records using their phones. According to the physician mentioned above the patient’s prescription history was buried in hundreds of pages of records. If the Apple update had been available the information would have been easy to locate. The update is expected in the spring and includes health records, lab results, medications and immunizations.
The first people able to use this feature will be patients of health providers in partnership with Apple. There is no charge for this feature but the person must have an iPhone. Apple stated the feature will be offered by additional medical facilities later. this year. Patients will no longer have to carry paper records with them when they make an appointment with a new physician. For additional details, please visit https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/14/585715952/medical-records-may-finally-be-coming-to-your-apple-smartphone.
Google offered their customers a similar service but it was a failure. They cancelled the service in 2012. Apple believes the greater security available on smartphones combined with the increase in individuals carrying smartphones will make the difference. There is also a standard available for the transfer of electronic records that was not available in 2012.
This feature will help prevent physicians from ordering duplicate tests, reduce medical costs and prevent additional pain for the patients. The Apple feature will provide a reliable description of the tests performed and their results. The problem Google had was they were unable to attract a wide variety of users. Only niche audiences were interested in the feature. This included fitness enthusiasts, caregivers and patients with technical savvy.
The new Apple feature will not require users to scan or enter their own data. There was additionally a data standard established in 2016 with the 21st Century Cures Act. The true value of this feature is not when the users obtain their personal health records. The value will be in the third party apps capable of using these health records. This is where patients will receive value. It may take a long time for this to happen. The belief is the uptake will be large but the challenge is in the continued engagement and retention of the Apple users.