Apple health records ehr data viewer will have immediate impact data recovery center

May 09, 2018 – Health system executives at each of the 12 organizations that were early adopters of Apple Health Records predict that the EHR data viewer will have an immediate positive impact on patient engagement, interoperability, and health IT innovation, according to a new KLAS report.

“These executives feel that allowing patients to access personal medical records on their smartphones is a revolutionary idea, one that disrupts current paradigms by setting off a series of small changes that may have major impact downstream,” wrote KLAS researchers.

“For those interviewed executives that offered a more technical assessment, Apple’s strategy epitomizes effective use of interoperability standards (FHIR, in particular), something HIT vendors have struggled for years to implement,” the team continued.

Half of surveyed executives said the app will accelerate health IT innovation and 33 percent said it will impact consumer-facing app development. One-quarter of surveyed providers foresee that Apple Health Records will give outside vendors more opportunities to enter the healthcare market.

“By pulling records out of EMRs and on to patient smartphones, Apple has not just changed the flow of data but has also, potentially, opened the floodgates for innovation at the hand of creative application developers — most likely ones outside of healthcare,” stated report authors.

Healthcare providers, patients, and innovators can expect to experience these benefits almost immediately, executives said. Fifty-nine percent of respondents stated they predict the technology will have an impact on the industry within zero to six months of its release. All told, 82 percent expect the industry will realize the benefits of Apple Health Records within one year.

While many surveyed executives expect the technology to be revolutionary for patient engagement and interoperability, most reported that their organizations are doing very little to leverage the tools apart from enabling patients to download their own EHR data.

While the EHR data viewer holds promise, several executives admitted some patients may be confused by the option to view their health information through Apple Health Records since they already have access to their data through patient portals.

Forty-five percent of executives said educating and onboarding patients to use the app will be the biggest barrier to yielding the potential benefits of the technology, while 36 percent stated they foresee educating providers as a challenge.

“Participants face a similar issue as they attempt to find a place for Apple inside their existing patient portal strategy by differentiating the capabilities and use cases for each tool,” wrote researchers. “One CMIO said that it is going to take some time for his staff to understand what Apple’s tool means.”

Most executives see Apple as a contender in the health IT innovation market. However, Apple’s lack of understanding of the business of healthcare may be a challenging hurdle for the tech giant to overcome. Some also contend that Apple’s usability expertise will outweigh its lack of experience in the field.