Healthcare institutions in the UK and Canada can now offer iPhone Health Records to their patients, enabling users to securely view and store their medical records within the Health app on iPhone.
Oxford University Hospitals and Women’s College Hospital are among the first healthcare institutions in the UK and Canada to make this feature available to their patients.
Apple says that In the US, over 500 institutions currently support Health Records on iPhone, listing more than 11,000 care locations. Previously, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log in to each healthcare provider’s website to piece together their health information manually.
Health Records creates a direct connection between medical institutions and a patient’s iPhone, allowing users to see a central view of their allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals across multiple institutions, and to be notified when their data is updated.
“We designed Health Records on iPhone to empower people to easily view their health records at any time, and we are thrilled to put this feature in the hands of customers in the UK and Canada,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology.
“We believe people should have access to their health information in the most private and secure way, and we have worked hand in hand with healthcare institutions and organizations to put privacy at the centre of the patient experience.”
Apple states it believes privacy is a fundamental human right, and Health Records was designed to protect patients’ privacy at all times by utilizing a direct, encrypted connection between the user’s iPhone and the healthcare organization.
In addition, all Health Records data is encrypted on device and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
Apple worked closely with Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, and InterSystems to enable the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standards-based integration with the Health app for their UK and Canadian customers.
“At NHSX, we are committed to giving patients access to their own records so they can take charge of their healthcare,” said Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX.
“The launch of Health Records on iPhone in the UK is a positive step and joins a number of initiatives across the NHS to put patients in the driving seat.”
The connection between your EHR and a user’s Health app utilises FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard APIs as defined by the Argonaut Project. Supported data types are allergies, conditions, immunisations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.
The connection leverages OAuth 2.0, which allows users to authenticate once and create an enduring connection to your EHR APIs. The Health app will periodically connect to your EHR APIs to pull in any new health records and notify the user when new records are available.
“Improving our services to patients while protecting their privacy and security is of paramount importance to us,” said Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and professor of healthcare law at University College London.
“This exciting development provides a more convenient option for patients to access their health records. Patients retain control over their own health information at all times.
When health record data is transferred from a healthcare institution to the Health app, it is encrypted and does not traverse Apple’s network. When a user’s iPhone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, their health data in the Health app is encrypted on-device. If a user chooses to sync their health data with iCloud, it is encrypted while in transit and at rest.
Apple is providing a user with the ability to request and download their health records utilising a direct, encrypted connection between the user’s iPhone and the APIs provided by the health system or clinic. As part of this feature, Apple is not creating, receiving, maintaining or transmitting personal health information for or on behalf of health systems or their business partners.
The Health Records feature in the Health app is available to patients of the medical institutions listed below. In the coming months, more medical facilities will connect to Health Records and offer their patients access to this feature.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Oxford
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Milton Keynes
Women’s College Hospital – Toronto, Ontario
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton – Hamilton, Ontario
Mackenzie Health – Richmond Hill, Ontario
Medical professionals and providers can find more information on Health Records, the Health app, and more here.