Apple's Heath Records feature, which allows iPhone users to download their medical records to their smartphones, is now available in the UK and is being used by two hospital trusts.
The feature, part of Apple's Health app, gives iPhone users the ability to request and download their electronic health records as stored by hospitals using a direct, encrypted connection between their iPhones and the system used by the clinic. The Health app then periodically connects to pull across any new health records and notify users when new records are available.
Currently in the US over 500 institutions support the Health Records feature on the iPhone across 11,000 locations.
In many cases, patients' medical records are held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log in to each healthcare provider's website to piece together their health information manually.
The Health Records feature creates a direct connection between medical institutions and a patient's iPhone, allowing users to see a central view of their health data including allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals across multiple institutions. Patients can also be notified when their data is updated.
Apple said the feature uses an encrypted connection between the user's iPhone and the healthcare organization, and all Health Records data is encrypted on the device and protected with the user's iPhone passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
In the UK, two NHS trusts – the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – will support the new features, as well as three medical institutions in Canada, where the feature is also now available.
"Improving our services to patients while protecting their privacy and security is of paramount importance to us," said Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and professor of healthcare law at University College London. "This exciting development provides a more convenient option for patients to access their health records. Patients retain control over their own health information at all times."