Apple's next update of operating system for iPhones and iPads will include a feature called "Health Records" that may ultimately be best positioned to aggregate electronic medical records for individuals.
The move to electronic medical records and the patient portals that go with them has been underway for years. There are multiple players in the space and tech giants such as Microsoft and Google and now Apple have been inserting themselves into the health care market.
Meanwhile, wearable device companies can also be players in the patient data game. Fitbit and Apple have been partnering with medical device makers and that data can ultimately be rolled up into a portal and health record.
- Move over HealthKit: Why Apple's ResearchKit is proving the real hit with doctors
- Apple CareKit: Building the future of healthcare, one iOS app at a time
- Apple Health and Apple HealthKit: What you need to know
So what's in Apple's favor with Health Records in iOS 11.3?
- The Apple Watch and iPhone is a conduit for micro-level data such as heart rate, activity and if in some cases medical conditions. Apple's HealthKit already gives the company a foothold in the healthcare market.
- Apple is good with partnering. Just like Apple has with enterprise technology giants, the company has partnered with the leading players in the health record space. Apple is going for the aggregation approach and partnering to suck in data from participating medical institutions in one place.
- The leading medical data players are on board with Health Records. Apple is starting with a dozen hospitals including Johns Hopkins Medicine and Penn Medicine and has connections into Epic Systems and Cerner. Epic and Cerner are the leading players in the medical record management space. Think of Epic as the SAP of hospital management software. The hospitals listed as Apple's launch partners run on Epic and Cerner for the most part.
- Apple is going along with standards. Health Records is based on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), which is a standard for transferring electronic medical records.
- The healthcare industry has already done a lot of the heavy lifting. The real work to move to electronic medical records has occurred over the last decade with a push from the government. All that IT integration primed the pump for a player like Apple to bring healthcare data to consumer devices.
- Apple's enterprise footprint can be leveraged. When Apple is pitching its health record and portal wares it appeals to IT executives directly.
- Privacy. Apple has played the privacy marketing well and differentiated itself from Google's cloud and data centric approach. In areas like artificial intelligence, Apple's approach is a handicap. In healthcare, that approach is an asset as Health Records will be encrypted and protected under a user's iPhone passcode.