Our iPhones already do a lot to keep us healthy, tracking our activity, sleep, mindfulness, and nutrition in the Health app. But according to a new report, Apple is working with hospitals and medical industry groups to bring your full medical profile to your phone, giving you full access to your digital medical chart.
CNBC is reporting that “a secretive team with Apple’s growing health unit” is working to bring clinical medical data to your iPhone. The goal is to make doctor’s visits, lab results, prescriptions, and even allergy lists available right your phone so you can access them whenever you need them.
The iPhone Health app already shows a rudimentary medical ID card and hooks up to an array of third-party devices like blood-pressure monitors and sleep trackers, but it requires the user to actively input and interact with it. Under Apple’s plan, patients would be able to easily access their records on their iPhone after visiting a hospital or clinic, and share that information when visiting a new doctor.
According to the report, Apple “has been involved with discussions with health IT industry groups,” and has hired has also hired leading developers associated with the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources specification, a popular protocol for exchanging electronic health records. CNBC also reports that Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology and a trained physician, is working closely on the project.
The report doesn't mention Apple Watch, but presumably Apple's wearable would play a major role in the new initiative. It has previously been reported that Apple is working on bringing glucose monitoring to Apple Watch, and watchOS 4 brings core Bluetooth support for continuous health and fitness monitoring of nearby devices.
The impact on you and your health: In no uncertain terms, this could be huge for both patients and doctors—if Apple manages to crack into the entrenched and highly regulated medical world. Having access to complete records and medical history would go a long way toward demystifying our medical records and bringing much-needed transparency to the process. And on the doctor side, it would help them get an immediate picture of our health history to offer targeted care.
But what we're most excited about? It might mean we never have to fill out a lengthy set of forms when we go to a new doctor.