People with wearable devices and smartphones regularly show up to the doctor’s office with readouts from apps that deal in everything related to sleeping patterns and heart rate. Now, with the new iOS 15 updates, data can be sent directly by some iPhone users from their Health app to their doctor’s electronic medical records systems.
According to Libo Wang, a cardiology fellow at the University of Utah School of Medicine, for patients to share information with their doctors, that type of integration could make it easier. “The current workflow is mildly laborious, and requires the patient to email the pdf, and a clinician manually uploading that file to create a permanent record in the official electronic medical record,” he said in an email.
Since 2018, users from other directions could already pull in data; Apple has allowed users to add records from dozens of hospitals and clinics to their Health app. In the US, the new integration will work with six electronic medical records companies. The company says it will continue to add more.
The doctors who used the records from those companies within a patient’s health record would be able to open any shared data. Inside the record, the dashboard opens as a web view directly. According to Apple, the design is similar within the records for each of the six companies.
Into electronic health records, the Health app data isn’t directly transferred. With the data, doctors can see a window, but the information isn’t permanently added to the record. If the user decides to stop sharing data with the health records, none remains. Using a frame network called SMART on FHIR, the system is built. It is an open interface for 3rd party applications that can work within electronic health records. By using the platform, any group can create an app.
According to Wang, direct access to iPhone data could help to use the information in a meaningful way for physicians and cardiologists within the health record. One 2020 study found that when the strip generated by the Apple Watch was directly reviewed by physicians that visually shows a user’s heart rate, there were able to detect more abnormal heart rhythms than the Watch’s algorithm.