Apple unveils Health Records API for developers to build apps for platform

The Health Records API allows developers to create apps that can, with permission, use data from electronic health records to help patients manage care.

By
Jonah
Comstock

[San Jose, California] Apple has followed up on its launch of Apple Health Records at 39 health systems in the United States with the announcement of a Health Records API, which will allow developers to create apps that can, with permission, use data from patients’ electronic health records to help people manage care, medications, nutrition, and more.

“Medical information may be the most important personal information to a consumer, and offering access to Health Records was the first step in empowering them.

"Now, with the potential of Health Records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day.”

The first integration that’s been announced, for instance, is with medication tracking and adherence app Medisafe.

Using the Health Records API, Medisafe users at participating health systems will now be able to import their prescription lists, making it easier to get started with the app, to set reminders, and to catch problematic drug-drug interactions.

Other use cases Apple offered up include disease management — a diabetes management app, for instance, could draw in patients’ lab data to better inform its recommendations — and nutrition, where access to cholesterol and blood pressure scores could help improve meal planning.

Additional specific integrations have yet to be announced.

Finally, Apple sees the potential for further improving medical research.

“With the new Health Records API, doctors can integrate patient medical data into their ResearchKit study apps for a more complete view of their participants’ health background,” Apple wrote in a release coinciding with its WWDC developer conference.

“Traditionally, researchers used arduous survey questionnaires to determine pre-existing conditions, which puts the burden on the patient to remember the details. Now, with the participants’ approval, researchers can access that patient-specific information to ensure more comprehensive research.

"This integration continues Apple’s commitment to providing the medical community with ResearchKit tools that could further their discoveries.”

Originally published on Healthcare IT News, a sister publication of BJ-HC.

Related content:

Apple launches Health Records app feature with iOS 11.3 at 12 US hospitals

Jonah Comstock

Related News

'Urgent need' to improve public awareness of NHS patient data use

New report from educational charity Corsham Institute calls on the NHS to improve the public’s understanding of patient data security, storage and use

CQC warns of patient safety risks relating to ‘poor’ access to records at London trust

The Care Quality Commission is urging Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to address patient safety risks relating to ‘poor’ access to medical records

Competition launched to create network of digital pathology and imaging centres using Artificial Intelligence

Up to six centres using Artificial Intelligence will be created to drive health research in the UK with the help of a £50m competition