Apple's iOS Health Records has 75+ backers, uses open-source frameworks for easy adoption

in iPhone edited August 2018
Apple's iOS Health Records program has grown to 77 supported health organizations, and is using an open-source standard known as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, the company's head of Clinical and Health Informatics revealed at a speech on Wednesday.


The number of supported institutions is up from just 12 early in the year, Ricky Bloomfield said at a conference according to VentureBeat. By the time Health Records reached the public with iOS 11.3, that number had already risen to 39.

While it won't actually become a final standard until the end of 2018, FHIR pulls in health data from multiple sources while making it simple to save, view, and share. Apple is specifically using the Argonaut variant, as its ease of use may attract more organizations.

"You as a user have complete control over who has access to the data," Bloomfield also noted. "If you don't want to share it, it won't be shared. It stays private on your device until you decide to share it." He added that records never cross Apple servers, instead passing through direct patient-to-clinic connections.

When available, Health Records let iPhone owners see both bare-bones data and graphs that call attention to anything out of the ordinary. The Health app can also record things like allergies, immunizations, and ongoing medications.

Apple opened up the Health Records API in June, which should let developers build apps for tasks like managing medications and diseases, or participating in research. The feature is still technically in beta though, and third-party apps won't arrive until this fall, presumably after the launch of iOS 12.

One obstacle for Apple may be FHIR's current lack of Android support. While iPhones are extremely popular, it may be hard to encourage some health firms to back an Apple-only platform.


  • Reply 1 of 7
    Still seems very poorly adopted by healthcare organizations, the times I have went to some recently, none of them talk about using the system.  Seems VERY niche at this point.  
  • Reply 2 of 7
    looplessloopless Posts: 194member
    Here in San Diego it is supported by the Scripps and UCSD health care systems  ( that I know of, maybe others) which covers a large number of people. Seems to work well.
    There is nothing in the standard that restricts FHIR to iOS. It's an open standard.

    edited August 2018
  • Reply 3 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,238member
    My comment, and my experience deal more with the EHR (Electronic Health Records) than with anything Apple.  BUT:   Patient privacy is essentially gone.

    I went to a doctor last month -- but he refused to talk to me until I had given him a release to see all of my health data.   When I did, he IMMEDIATELY (seconds) pulled up my history for the past 5 years from 3 separate, unnconnected health care systems.   At that point, he knew more about my health history than I did!

    Aside from the privacy concerns, much of it was incorrect or misleading such as old complaints that had checked out or corrected --- but I had to try to explain each to his rather skeptical face as he was working hard to find something wrong with me.

    But, when I got home and tried to download those same health records either as a straight download or to iOS, only one of those three systems would let me do it.  One provided no way to download the data and the other said to put in a request that they would respond to in about 6 weeks.

    As physicians already know:  EHR systems are primarily for the safety and billing of large financial institutions.  As a nurse, working in a hospital I was happy when they first began to roll out because I no longer got indecipherable scripts that I had to (hopefully) interpret correctly (Is that a 1 or a 7?).  And later, as a home health nurse I got to see the confusion between physicians over patient care -- but EHR's aren't going to solve that problem.  So, as far as I can see, there's no real advantage to them for the patient.

    And, as a student nurse, I was a bit surprised to learn that the physician or hospital owns your records.  They are not yours.  And, that is illustrated in the iOS Health Records app where all you can do is look, but not touch.   Only the physician or healthcare organization who owns them is allowed to change them or delete them.

    My best advice is to keep your own records that you control and, use them whenever seeing a physician.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,153member
    here in New Orelans it’s used by Oschner, the state’s biggest hospital chain. It’s a win for me because the records stick with me and not the provider’s office, making it much easier to refer to past data.
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    Oh please may this be adopted nation wide.  The lack of a centralized system is unbelievable in the year 2018.  
  • Reply 6 of 7
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,335moderator
    Since the start of my software career digital health records were one of those holy grails that we said someone would make $billions solving, or nothing at all (because it would need to be an open standard).  Glad to see Apple involved in an initiative.  
  • Reply 7 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,238member
    here in New Orelans it’s used by Oschner, the state’s biggest hospital chain. It’s a win for me because the records stick with me and not the provider’s office, making it much easier to refer to past data.
    Not really, the source records stays with your provider, are owned by that provider and are controlled by that provider.   Try correcting an error on your record.   Impossible.  You have to request the provider to do that -- which they may or may not do.   It's their record and their choice.
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