How Apple could disrupt healthcare

A number of recent moves by Apple could turn your iPhone into a personal health hub – and eventually upend the healthcare industry.

Apple Health Records
Apple / PublicDomainPictures

For a nearly a decade, healthcare providers in the U.S. struggled to meet the demands of U.S. government requirements for electronic medical records. Those requirements were designed to get doctors, hospitals and other entities away from paper records – promising in return that the change would simplify healthcare workflows, allow disparate providers to exchange patient data, provide deeper understanding about patients as a result of more connected and searchable data, and empower users to take charge of their care by electronically accessing and sharing relevant information.

Summed up in a single word, what the government wanted is integration.

Despite comprehensive efforts by various agencies, a slew of new products for front-line healthcare workers and those overseeing them, and widespread adoption of electronic health records, most of these promises remain unfulfilled.

One of the biggest failures is the inability of systems to interoperate. Even with technical and meaningful use requirements in place, patients still don’t have easy access to their data or certainty  that accurate and relevant information extends from doctor to doctor.  In most situations, a patient ends up being the conduit for sharing information from one doctor’s office to the next (often without all the accurate details, which must then be collected by the provider – if at all). 

Fixing this situation is part of the challenge Apple has set for itself with a host of healthcare initiatives, particularly in the upcoming iOS 12. And Apple just might be the one company that can pull it off and reinvent our medical records in the process.

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