Apple Touts Health Records API to Bridge Patients And Providers

Apple today released the Health Records API to developers and researchers alike tap into the growing amount of data generated by and stored on mobile devices. The end goal is to let consumers manage their medications, diseases, nutrition, and more.

Developers interested in creating applications that require access to health records now have a powerful new ally: the Apple Health Records API. Apple says the API gives patients of more than 500 hospitals and clinics access to their data -- all of which can be viewed and managed on their iPhone.

"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," said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. "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 API offers four key powers: medication tracking, disease management, nutrition planning, and medical research. How will the API be put to use? Without providing detailed specifics, Apple did at least offer a general idea of what the API does.

In medication traction, for example, a medication management app called Medisafe will connect to the iPhone's Health Records feature so consumers can import their prescription list, set pill reminders, and receive med information, such as side effects. The app will be able to warn patients of potential harmful interactions and ensure that providers have access to all the patient's medications as they travel from place to place.  

As for disease management, Apple suggests a apps for managing diabetes could let patients see their lab results, as well as enter diet and exercise data throughout the day. This works natively with Apple's existing iOS HealthKit, letting people and their providers see a more complete picture of health.

This goes hand-in-hand with nutrition planning. Apps centered on healthy eating could, for example, help people avoid foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, while recommending good sources of fiber and protein.

Let's not forget research. Apple has allowed researchers to tap into the data of its iPhone and Apple Watch owners, providing incredible insight into some diseases. Together with ResearchKit, study apps can integrate patient medical data into their studies to provide a more complete view of participants' health. "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," explained Apple.

The API is available now via Apple's developer portal. Developers and researchers will need to log into their Apple developer account to see the exact details of how the API works.

Be sure to read the next Healthcare article: Apple's New ResearchKit Movement Disorder API Can be Used to Monitor Parkinson’s Symptoms


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