Apple and a growing network of hospitals and doctors’ offices will now let you import your health history right into your iPhone. We’ll show you how.
First, some background. Apple is trying to fix a longstanding problem in health care. Most hospitals and clinics have an electronic health record provider, which includes a “portal” that their patients can use to access medical information. But these portals tend to be extremely wonky and hard to use, so they aren’t used much. The situation gets even more complicated for patients who see a lot of doctors, or who move to a different city, since many of these records systems are not compatible with each other.
But people carry their iPhones with them everywhere, and it’s a lot more convenient showing a new doctor your medical history on your phone than it is to sign in to multiple web portals and print out reams of documents to bring with you.
Apple is able to do this thanks to HIPAA, a set of regulations that gives patients the right to their own health data, among other things. The company has signed up medical institutions extremely quickly since it announced the beta in January. As of March, Apple supports 300 hospitals and 40 health systems, and new ones are being added all the time:
If your doctor supports the feature, you can now easily see all sorts of data including health records, allergies, clinical vitals, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications and procedures, all right on my iPhone.
I was able to test this using records that were stored in my file during visits to NYU Langone in New York City. (Since this is personal data, I’m blurring some of the results.)