8 takeaways from beta tests of the new Apple Health Record
New functionality of the iPhone enables consumers to download, aggregate, view and share their medical records. Research firm KLAS Enterprises interviewed all 12 beta delivery systems—they say the Apple Health Record is not just a marketing ploy but has sizable potential to affect how providers interact with patients and how patients manage their care.
How Health Records works
Health Records will enable iPhone users to store their health information on their phones. This convenience could increase patient satisfaction and self-ownership of their care, beta testing organizations reported to KLAS.
KLAS notes that the possibility exists that Apple could fail in healthcare, as other large companies such as Google and Microsoft have failed. But beta testers contend that Apple has a decent chance to succeed because it did not hurry development, electronic health records adoption has never been higher, and EHR data has never been as available as it is now.
Some 59 percent of beta testers expect benefits from Health Records to be rapid—within six months. Revolutionary app development may take several years, but patient record portability very soon will be possible, these organizations say.
Potential ways that Health Record could change healthcare include empowering patients, helping to solve interoperability issues, speeding innovation and change, facilitating consumer app development and opening healthcare to outside vendors.
Despite excitement about Health Record’s potential, most early adopter providers expect to wade in cautiously. To start, they are focused on the first benefit of enabling patients to download their medical records, which requires little time, effort and cost. Some 25 percent of the providers even expect Apple—not their own organization—to drive adoption.
In late March, Apple added 27 additional health systems that pledge to make patients’ health information available through Health Record, bringing the current total to 39. The company faces a long journey to attract a majority of the nation’s hospital systems. Apple must start to expand beyond its pilot vendor partners—athenahealth, Cerner and Epic.
Provider beta testers looking for new Health Record capabilities tell KLAS they want to be able to upload data back into the electronic health record. They also want more detailed data than the current continuity of care documents, or C-CDA, can deliver today.
Necessity of other platforms
Obviously, Health Record will have to expand to other smartphone users beyond those that have iPhones. One CIO told KLAS, “If an Android version becomes available, that will be a home run for a lot of people.”