Why it matters: Whether it is a good or bad idea is still debatable, but Apple is expanding its Health Records on iPhone program. The special section of the built-in iOS Heath app already integrates with several commercial medical providers. The company announced on Monday that the VA would be the newest provider to allow remote access to medical records.
Apple has shown a particular interest in the health care industry especially since its latest smartwatches were approved by the FDA for capturing EKGs. Additionally, the tech giant has twice partnered with health insurance provider Aetna to provide watches to employees and customers who meet fitness goals.
Today Cupertino has announced it will be working with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make health records available at the touch of a button. Soon veterans will be able to access their aggregated records from the VA right from their iPhone's pre-installed Health app.
“We have great admiration for veterans, and we’re proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “It’s truly an honor to contribute to the improved healthcare of America’s heroes.”
Health Records on iPhone is still in beta but is already capable of retrieving health record information from several sources including Quest Diagnostics, Sutter Health, Dignity Health, and other participating local health care providers. Health information such as allergies, immunizations, lab results, medications, and even Apple Watch data is combined in one place for easy access. All data is encrypted and locked with the device’s passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
“Our goal is to empower people to better understand and improve their health, enabling them to view their medical information from multiple providers in one place easily and securely,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “We’re excited to bring this feature to veterans across the US.”
Welcoming VA providers into the fold is a huge addition. There are more than 9 million veterans that utilize 1,243 VA medical facilities. It is the largest medical system in the United States.
Apple did not mention when VA records would be brought onboard. As of publication, the facilities in my area are not listed in the app, so there are probably still a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out.