In a show of support for Apple’s Sept. 9 launch of new products, officials from the Mayo Clinic attended yesterday’s high-profile media event near the tech giant’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

At the event, Apple unveiled its new Apple Watch—which includes health and fitness apps as well as a built-in heart rate sensor—and the company also showcased its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. According to an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mayo Clinic officials made the trip from Rochester, Minn., to Silicon Valley to “take a big role” in the product unveiling and to “show data from the health app can flow into the more sophisticated management system of a major health center.”

John Wald, M.D., medical director for public affairs at Mayo Clinic, told Health Data Management on his way to yesterday’s Apple media extravaganza that the two organizations have been working together for several years now. But, Wald emphasized that the Sept. 9 product blitz was “truly Apple’s announcement.”

“It’s been a relationship that’s been built over a number of different years,” he said. “Our initial relationship with Apple was built out of a couple of things: one, their appreciation of our own current Mayo Clinic patient app which allows our patients to see their health data and information, particularly their lab results and radiology tests; and, in addition, Apple is interested in the way that we use their platforms—both iPhones and iPads—within our clinical services to allow the health records to be brought directly to the patient bedside.”

This isn’t the first time Mayo Clinic has been featured at a major Apple event. During Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company announced its alliance with the Mayo Clinic, which helped influence the design of the HealthKit API that was rolled out at the event in San Francisco.

A new tool for developers, HealthKit allows health and fitness apps to communicate with each other and to share data. Part of Apple's iOS8 software developers’ kit—the latest developer operating system for its iPhones and iPads—the Apple strategy is to establish HealthKit as an industry-wide healthcare data hub.

Wald said that as Apple started to develop HealthKit the two organizations had discussions about the kinds of data elements that would be included. Mayo Clinic has partnered with Apple to integrate HealthKit with its electronic health records system.

“We see advantages for using the repository of HealthKit in healthcare,” said Wald, who believes the goal for Mayo Clinic as a provider is to “ultimately act with consumers and patients to seamlessly move that health data from either the patient’s own repository HealthKit into the electronic health record or from the electronic health record into HealthKit.”

“Our relationship with Apple allows us to continue our movement into the digital health strategies and remote monitoring,” he added.

 

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