Imagine how convenient it would be if instead of going to the hospital, you just share your health data with your doctor through your phone. In this scenario, you don’t have to log in to the hospital website or call your doctor for your health information. Soon, you will be able to do all that on your iPhone. According to a report by CNBC, Apple is in talks with developers, hospitals and other parties. The company plans to bring clinical data like lab results to the iPhone. From there, users could choose to share it with third parties like hospitals.
Basically, Apple would create a centralized management system for health data. This is similar to what the company did with music; iTunes was created to be a centralized management system for music, and it replaced CDs. Previous efforts by Apple to enter the healthcare business have been largely focused on fitness and wellness. Therefore, this initiative is a step in a different direction by the tech giants.
However, there’s a snag. Even in the digital age, patients’ info is not so easily shared between doctors, especially among different hospitals and clinics. This problem is referred to as the “interoperability crisis”, and health experts have stated that this is actually hurting patients. This leads to missed diagnoses and avoidable mistakes.
In recent months, Apple has met with health IT industry groups looking for ways to bring this dream to life. These include The Argonaut Project, a private sector initiative which is promoting the adoption of open standards on health information. Also, Apple is in talks with The Carin Alliance, an organization which is looking to give patients a central role in controlling their own medical data.
Note that other tech giants have tried to solve this problem through their own web-based patient health record services. However, these have not really been successful. Google had to shut down its healthcare product, Google Health, way back in 2011 due to a lack of traction. However, it has been suggested that this might be because it was too early for an effort like Google Health to succeed.