Apple Looking To Partner With EHR Vendors, Hospitals on HealthKit

Apple is in talks with electronic health record provider Allscripts, as well as several hospitals to determine how hospitals could use its cloud-based health information platform known as "HealthKit," Reuters reports (Farr, Reuters, 8/12).


In June, Apple introduced a new mobile application and platform that aims to consolidate health data tracked by various other health apps into one location.

Apple's product includes both the platform, called HealthKit, and a user-facing app called Health. It will be bundled into Apple's iOS8 software, which powers iPhones and iPads (iHealthBeat, 6/3).

According to an Apple release, users will be able to allow each app access to "specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness." It adds, "For example, your blood pressure app could share its data with a physician app, such as the Mayo Clinic app, so your doctor can provide high-quality guidance and care" (Apple release, 6/2).

With the unveiling, Apple also announced partnerships with EHR provider Epic Systems, Mayo Clinic and a number of other hospitals.

According to a person briefed by Apple, dozens of health systems that use Epic will be able to integrate patient information from HealthKit into MyChart, Epic's personal health record.

Reports also suggest Mayo is testing a service that flags patients when data from apps and devices are abnormal.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente is said to be testing several mobile apps that use HealthKit and the company is expected to discuss a more formal partnership with Apple, according to observers.

New Partnership Details

In addition to a reported partnership with Allscripts, Apple is in talks with Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Mount Sinai Hospital, Reuters reports.

However, Apple has not released the details of its partnerships, and officials at Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins and Allscripts have declined to comment.

Cleveland Clinic Associate CIO William Morris said the hospital's clinical solutions team is examining the app's beta and is providing Apple with feedback.

Implications for Health Care

According to Reuters, the talks underscore Apple's intention to make health data available in one place for both consumers and providers.  

"Apple has engaged with some of the most important players in this space," Kaiser Permanente's Brian Gardner said, adding, "Platforms like HealthKit are infusing the market with a lot of new ideas and making it easier for creative people to build for health care."

The app also holds the potential to save IT teams at some hospitals money because mobile developers will no longer have to link with multiple apps and devices, such as fitness trackers or glucose monitors.

Joy Pritts, former chief privacy officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, said Apple will be subject to different privacy laws based on who it partners with. For example, if Apple and Nike jointly collect running data, neither entity would be subject to patient privacy laws, but if Apple receives and stores clinical data from a hospital like Mayo, it would have to adhere to HIPAA standards (Reuters, 8/12).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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