Apple opened up its new Health Records API just over two months ago to let developers create new apps and improved experiences for patients, particularly as they visit multiple doctors or health systems. Now we’re hearing more about the standard on which the Health Records platform is based, along with new institutions that have started supporting Health Records.

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As detailed by EHR Intelligence (via Venture Beat), Apple’s Clinical and Health Informatics Lead Ricky Bloomfield, MD, spoke at the ONC 2nd Interoperability Forum about Health Records. He gave more insight into the standard, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), that Health Records uses, and more.

“Standards are only real if they’re used and if they’re used at scale,” he continued. What we’ve seen is that by adopting the Argonaut implementation guide — which is a more constrained implementation of FHIR — adoption will be greater and far easier for those who wish to adopt this.”

He went on to share that user data is never seen by Apple’s servers as he demonstrated a connection with UNC Health Care:

“The Health app connected directly to UNC’s FHIR end point — a standard FHIR endpoint — and securely downloaded the records directly from that health system,” explained Bloomfield. “The data that was there did not traverse any Apple servers. It was a direct connection from UNC to the phone I’m holding.”

While FHIR won’t be a finalized standard until the end of this year, Apple producing more and more momentum around it should prime the standard to be ready for widespread adoption.

Apple updated its list of institutions supporting the Health Records platform last week, which has grown to almost 80 health systems, clinics, and doctor offices.

Bloomfield also demonstrated how Health Records will be great for users with a simple, straightforward experience.

“If I tap on all records, this represents a single longitudinal record which is easy to understand, secure, and may be updated automatically,” said Bloomfield. “In fact it is updated automatically. When this connection happens to the health system, it’s an enduring link. When new records are available, those records are automatically downloaded to your device.”

Users should start to see the benefits of all the work by Apple and health care providers on Health Records later this year.


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