Apple to Participate in Meeting Advocating for Better Patient Access to Health Info

Representatives for Apple and Microsoft will be participating in a meeting with the Carin Alliance that's focused on making it easier for patients to access and share their medical information, reports CNBC.

The meeting will focus on efforts to push a rule change proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services that would promote medical data interoperability.

health records ios 11
Ricky Bloomfield, a member of Apple's health team who formerly served as Duke University's Director of Mobile Strategy, will participate in the meeting by phone, according to a list of attendees published today [PDF].

Those who are in support of the change want to modernize patient access to data, as it continues to be common for medical facilities to provide health records via CD or Fax, which makes it difficult for people to switch providers and healthcare systems. From a PDF describing talking points for the meeting:

It's imperative to note how important and time sensitive aggregated health information across multiple provider and health plan systems can be for patients going through catastrophic events. This information is essential for patients as they consider options such as treatment planning, consenting to surgical procedures, exploring and enrolling in clinical trials, and matters of continuity of care, examples including expediting an urgent second opinion, appealing insurance denials for standard of care treatments prescribed by patient's board-certified physicians, as well as having all pertinent information when it comes to advance care planning, palliative care, and matters of end of life. Data access is a matter of patient safety, better outcomes, improved costs, and often life or death.

Apple has been working to make health data more accessible for patients with its Health Records feature that is designed to allow iOS users to access their medical records from participating hospitals and medical providers. Apple has partnered with hundreds of providers in the United States, allowing iPhone users to sync their medical data to the iOS Health app.

Top Rated Comments

thefourthpope Avatar
23 months ago
Done safely, this would be a complete positive for patients and many providers. Transferring health data between providers is challenging — with some good reason, given the sensitive information involved — but can absolutely be improved.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Wonderful Avatar
23 months ago
The proposed rules basically opens up your medical records to be shared indefinitely. This isn't a move to "improve sharing" or "empower patients". It's a move to force health care providers to provide Silicon Valley and any company that just so happens to make an app access to your patient data so that they can profit off it or face massive fines.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iGeneo Avatar
23 months ago

I'm assuming if you put all your medical records on your iPhone that you can opt out syncing it to the iCloud since Apple revealed that they will not encrypt your data on the cloud but will provide it to requesting law enforcement.
Next step will be for employers or insurance companies is to force Apple to release medical data stored on a person's icloud account in order to decline employment or insurance due to medical data on their iPhone devices.
Some employers required social media access of their accounts before employment.
Health data is encrypted on the device, Apple has zero access to it, and any encryption key that they have would not access it
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
23 months ago
A tip from Apple:

Set up your Medical ID in the Health app on your iPhone (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207021)

This is information you want to have available to medical workers in an emergency.

One of the fields is Blood Type, but don't worry if you don't know your blood type. You'll almost surely be tested before getting a transfusion anyway. But you could ask what blood type you are the next time you get a blood test, and fill it in later.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonblatho Avatar
23 months ago

That‘s not how it works. It’s still encrypted on iCloud, but Apple has the keys to decrypt it when it is required by a court order. Neither Apple nor any commercial third party knows what is backed up. if insurance companies really wanted the data this is one of the much harder ways of getting it.
This is not necessarily true. For users with iOS 12 and two-factor authentication enabled ('https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202303#health'), all Health data is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be accessed by Apple even with valid legal process. If two-factor authentication is not enabled, then it’s encrypted at rest, just like all other iCloud data (except emails), but Apple has the keys to decrypt it.


I'm assuming if you put all your medical records on your iPhone that you can opt out syncing it to the iCloud since Apple revealed that they will not encrypt your data on the cloud but will provide it to requesting law enforcement.
For many users (see above), this isn’t the case for Health data. You can opt out, though.


Health data is encrypted on the device, Apple has zero access to it, and any encryption key that they have would not access it
Not necessarily true (see above).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cashville2400 Avatar
23 months ago
I am not trusting Apple with ANY medical records! Pics, okay, yeah. I have been married longer than digital cock pics have been a thing so I am good, but I am not sharing too much medical info with Apple. To each their own though.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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