Apple Health Records: Where early adopters see the biggest impact so far

By Bernie Monegain
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Many players in the healthcare industry are closely watching how  Health Records are performing in this rapidly changing market. 

A major shift in what makes up a record of patient care is already underway. EHR vendors are working to transform EHRs into CHRs — Comprehensive Health Records. Couple that with their plans to integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence into their offerings, and you have the stuff of market disruption.

So where exactly will Apple fit in? An early look at the 39 hospitals already using Apple Health Record offers a glimpse of what’s to come. 

Apple Health Records real impact

Apple Health Records has the potential to impact millions of patients given the iPhone’s broad customer base, research firm KLAS noted in its .

Early participants say Apple Health Records has both short-term benefits and long-term potential to impact how provider organizations interact with patients and how patients manage their health.

Sixty-seven percent of early participants indicated Apple Health Records would empower patients. On the topic of interoperability, 58 percent indicated it would help solve the elusive issue. Fifty percent indicated it would speed innovation and change. Thirty-three percent figured it would facilitate consumer app development; and 25 percent indicated it would open up healthcare to outside vendors.

Health Records is expected to help solve the difficult and long-standing challenge of interoperability by allowing iPhone users to store their health records on a device that is already part of their lives.

Seventy-five percent of respondents to the KLAS survey plans to harness Apple Health Records to give patients access to their data, and 50 percent said it was to use as an additional option in the current patient engagement strategy. Only 17 percent said it was to be an active participant.

EHRs are bound for change (if not glory)

None of this is to say Apple’s road ahead will be easy. Even well-funded giants such as Google and Microsoft have stumbled when they ventured into the healthcare realm, so expect both Apple and the hospitals using its Health Records to face their own challenges.

To that end, Respondents to the KLAS inquiry said that non-healthcare vendors understand patients in a different way and that out-of-the-box research and development from these vendors could motivate and direct patients better than the methods that have been in play so far.

All told, though, 92 percent of the respondents think Apple Health Records will have a positive impact within 12 months. How that will translate to the broader EHR market remains to be seen — but it’s worth noting that Apple Health Records work with existing EHRs from , and  at the hospitals that are already using it. It’s not a direct competitor, yet.

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