An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor at Bay

The promise of the new Health Records API

Apple made a big announcement weeks ago at WWDC - their Worldwide Developers Conference - around healthcare. Building upon previous health announcements of the release of HealthKit (I wrote about this a few years ago: the Electronic Sickness Record), CareKit, ResearchKit, and a slew of capabilities and devices. The new announcement - Apple Health Records - leverages the exceedingly popular FHIR standard to provide a common and interoperable framework for sharing health data elements.

A lot of the press around the release of Apple Health Records API is around consumers being able to view their own healthcare data from their medical providers on their device. But this isn't anything particularly new... Cerner has had the HealtheLife app for patients for over 3 years. Epic has provided a MyChart patient portal app and their disconnected Personal Health Records (PHR) project Lucy for years as well. These windows into your medical records have been underutilized by consumers not only because adoption hasn't been great, but because medical records by themselves aren't useful!

Bringing it all together. This is where Apple Health Records can be the game-changer, for patients and care providers alike. By bringing your EHR medical records (from whatever system, thanks to the FHIR standards) together with your wellness and fitness data, the possibilities to improve your health are much more apparent. Let's say you have history of congestive heart failure (CHF) and you're on a treatment plan with your doctors and care team. You'd likely be on statins to help lower your cholesterol andACE inhibitors to control your blood pressure. Additionally, your doctor likely prescribed an exercise regimen, a diet, and tell you to watch your weight (particularly for fluctuations). Maybe you're now into biking with your family as a light-to-moderate exercise. Even with regular checkups, your care team previously could only monitor your improvement and tune your treatment plan and meds when they saw you.

Now, by having Health Records data alongside your nutrition information (MyFitnessPal anyone?), exercise data from your iPhone collecting while you bike and walk, and your remote monitoring scale from Withings, you and your care team have a much more complete view into your health at any given time. The Health Records API allows those other apps to use information from your doctor's EHR and provide better suggestions and alerts without manual intervention. Furthermore, by sharing that data back with your care team, remote monitoring is now a possibility. You may even get a message from your doctor asking you to come in for a visit based on how your weight is fluctuating or elevated and suspect heart patterns that your Apple Watch is always recording.

Like that saying "the best camera you have is the one that's with you", IoT sensors passively collecting your health data will prove invaluable. But it's not that the data is just there for you to view. It's that it's being collected seamlessly and combined with context to provide you and your doctor with more complete and timely information that can be used to find things before it becomes a problem and you end up at the Emergency Department. This is the promise behind this technology in driving the way to true digital transformation in healthcare.

Did you know Qlik has been working with Cerner and SMART on FHIR? We released the SMART Analytics Adapter allowing Cerner organizations to bring together data from any source and put it into the workflow. Learn more here:

Cerner SMART Analytics Adapter by Qlik

Can Apple's Health Records API be a game changer for patients? Explore latest thoughts from @JWarbington.

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