Apple wades into the consumer health record battle

Apple wades into the consumer health record battle

Bill Marshall,

Fantastic news out of Apple as they debuted a significant update to their Health App with a feature for consumers to see their medical records on an iPhone or iPad. It was hot news – even the Wall Street Journal Tech section picked up the announcement and ran their own story: "Apple Dives Into Complex Field: Your Medical Records."

The point of personal health records – particularly, digital health records – is that no matter where you seek medical care, you have your complete medical history. It should be obvious, but a complete health record allows you and your chosen medical professionals to take the best actions for your health.

As WSJ Tech author Tripp Mickle aptly points out, in some respects the effort by Apple has already been attempted by other giants in the consumer space, namely Microsoft and Google, with little success to show and little long-term value to consumers. However, what’s exciting this time is that the U.S. healthcare marketplace has evolved such that we may have finally pushed past a tipping point. That is, it may finally be the right time for truly efficient and effective digital consumer health records.

So, what’s different now? There is more openness to share data and easier technology to do so efficiently and securely.

Apple, like Pegasystems, and many others in healthcare, have openly welcomed and adopted HL7's FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) specification. FHIR eases the effort to share secure health record data. On that very point, the Apple announcement included this statement from Stephanie Reel, Chief Information Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one.”

That has certainly been the experience of Pega working with industry leaders like Philips Healthcare.

In early 2016, Pega and Philips Healthcare used FHIR to rapidly connect to a variety of medical-grade Philips wearable devices (e.g., Health watch) and in-home medical equipment, feeding real-time data to care management solutions that enable both consumers and their care teams to provide healthcare in the most preferred setting – at home.

Similarly, Apple’s use of FHIR to deliver the personal health record to the patient’s iPhone or iPad opens the opportunity for everyone to further support intelligent, informed collaboration between you and your chosen medical professionals. Delivering the right information at the right time to inform any healthcare conversation can only be a healthy move.

Learn More: See how Philips Healthcare is enabling patients and care teams to collaborate with mobile and remote patient-centric support and services


  • Industry: Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Topic: Digital Transformation
  • Challenge: Digital Process Automation

About the Author

In his role as Director of Healthcare Industry Solutions, Bill Marshall helps healthcare clients create customer-centered improvements that streamline operations and improve health outcomes.