Apple integrates US patient health records into its Health App
Technology giant Apple continually remains ahead of the curve – healthcare is no exception. To the delight of consumers, it has revealed its recent service offering, where it has integrated patients’ medical records into its Health App as part of the iOS 11.3 beta. The data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode.
Collaborating with hospital providers and clinics across the US, the company has now enabled patients to see medical records from multiple providers within one core tech platform, covering allegies, conditions, immunisations, medications and more. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and many other participating hospitals and clinics are among the first to make this beta feature available to their patients.
Apple has also worked with the healthcare community to develop a consumer-friendly approach, creating Health Records based on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), a standard process in transferring electronic medical records.
“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone,” commented Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer.
“By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.”
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Apple’s ambition to make healthcare a seamless, positive experience for consumers is slowly coming into fruition.
“Putting the patient at the center of their care by enabling them to direct and control their own health records has been a focus for us at Cedars-Sinai for some time. We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones,” added Darren Dworkin, Chief Information Officer at Cedars-Sinai.
“Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond.”
In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records offering their patients access to this feature.
Those who are concerned that Apple will gain access to personal, confidential data need not fear. Williams informed CNBC that “Apple doesn't see the data unless the consumer chooses to share it," providing further advantages for the healthcare sector to collaborate with technology companies to develop digital tools in alignment with consumer demand.
This will also further encourage health providers to undertake increased data-sharing and minimise potential risks within fragmented clinical documentation, particularly when a patient moves from public to private healthcare, and vice versa.
NHS care homes are better than private, report finds
A new survey has found that 60% of people with parents in NHS care homes believe the quality of care has improved, compared to just 49% of respondents with parents in private care facilities.
The survey was conducted by Kepler Vision Technologies, an AI-driven company formed at the University of Amsterdam. It was carried out among UK adults with parents over the age of 75.
Respondents cited more capable care staff and better monitoring systems as being the main reasons for improvement.
However those who do not have parents in assisted living facilities had a different viewpoint - in this case only 35% of respondents believe that NHS facilities are improving, compared to 32% who believe it is only improving in the private sector.
Only 18% of people whose parents live with them or independently believe care home staff are able to look after residents to a good standard.
Kepler Vision say this difference in opinion is due to perceived budget cuts and financial pressures, with 67% of people commenting that a lack of funding has had a negative effect on care in both NHS and private care facilities.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* Out of those who say quality has declined in care homes, 69% say the NHS is dealing with budget cuts and increased financial pressure, while 65% also said that the private system is dealing with these pressures too
* 55% said that they or their parent have money saved specifically to pay for their future care
* 35% said the idea of their parent in a care home makes them feel frightened, although 32% say it makes them feel secure
* 52% are worried about their parent catching COVID
* 47% are worried about their parent being lonely
* 46% are concerned they could fall over alone
The announcement of this research follows the UK government's decision to delay presenting its social care budget till the autumn.
Commenting on the research, Dr Harro Stokman, CEO of Kepler Vision Technologies said: “While it is good to see that people recognise the importance of staff and face-to-face interaction in elderly care, the huge gap in opinion between those with parents in care and those without shows that there are unfair negative perceptions around the residential care space.
"More can and should be done by care homes to give people the confidence that their relatives will receive the very best care - by highlighting the excellent work of staff and how well they are able to monitor resident’s needs with easy-to-use technology.”