Just two months after announcing the beta, Apple is now launching its Apple Health Records feature into the wild, allowing patient-generated data in a user's Health app to be aggregated with data from their EHR — if the user is a patient at a participating hospital.

In addition to the 12 US health systems announced with the beta, 27 more are ready to launch the service. Anyone with an iPhone and iOS version 11.3 will be able to download the patient-facing side of the feature by updating the Health app in iOS.

Stanford Medicine, Scripps, NYU Langone Medical Center, Partners Health Care, Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, and Duke University Medical Centre are among the hospitals joining the program. Apple previously announced Penn Medicine, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins, and Geisinger Health System.

[Read more: The titan enters the race: Apple to launch Health Records app with HL7's FHIR specifications at 12 hospitals | Australian FHIR innovation a frontrunner as the US government looks to standardise health data exchange]

The feature will use HL7's FHIR specification. Users will be able to see allergies, medications, conditions and immunisations, as well as the information they might check an EHR patient portal for, such as lab results. They can be notified when the hospital updates their data. The data will be encrypted, and users will enter a password to view it.

In a blog post, Apple detailed the experiences of two clinicians who have been using the system: Dr Robert Harrington, cardiologist and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford, and Dr Paul Testa, CMIO at NYU Langone Medical Centre. 

[Read more: Apple to open high-tech medical centres for staff that will trial the company’s new health products | Head of eHealth Queensland on stunning ieMR stats and a future of interstate digital health collaboration]

Testa said he has adapted the system to include Apple Watch notifications for 35 physicians at NYU, who can set the EHR in advance to send particular lab results to the watch so they are able to respond quickly to patients who need care most urgently.

Apple's long-awaited initial announcement of the health records tool in January sparked a debate in the digital health community about whether the tech titan could succeed where others have failed in bringing patient EHR data to their smartphones.

Time will tell, but the number of hospitals and clinics participating — which number in the hundreds when the size of the health systems are taken into account — bodes well for the success of the experiment.

Originally published on the US edition of Healthcare IT News.





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