ChristianaCare, one of the most innovative health care providers in the United States, today offers patients the option to share important everyday health information stored in the Apple Health app directly with their provider.
ChristianaCare is one of the first health systems to offer this new feature with the availability of iOS 15.
With iOS 15, patients are now able to share certain types of this data in a secure way, to have more informed, meaningful conversations with their clinician.
The Apple Health app is a central and secure place to view personal health and fitness data consolidated from iPhone, Apple Watch, compatible third-party apps and devices, and available health records from participating health care organizations.
This new functionality enables patients to securely share visibility into their health with a trusted health care provider or care team.
“There are hundreds of apps and devices that are connected to Apple’s health kit today, including biometric scales, blood pressure cuffs, sleep monitors, activity trackers and so much more,” said Tim Shiuh, M.D., chief health information officer and vice president, clinical transformation, at ChristianaCare.
“In the past, patients had to keep track of all of that information in logbooks that they’d bring to their doctor’s office—or maybe that data just wasn’t available.”
ChristianaCare patients can now select categories of this information to share with their provider within the Apple Health app, including data like activity, heart rate, cycle tracking, sleep, irregular rhythm notifications, falls and more, as well as certain health records categories like labs and immunizations.
“By enabling data that originates from digital devices such as Apple Watch and iPhone to be viewable directly within the provider’s electronic health record software, it creates a much better picture, and it enables health care providers to analyze it and find actionable insights that can help change the trajectory of a patient’s care.”
When patients choose to share this data, their health care team will be able to view the shared data in a web-based view in the patient’s electronic health record, which is powered by Cerner.
When viewing health data the patient has shared, providers can review trends and changes over time in easy-to-read summary charts, and choose to incorporate relevant information into the patient medical record.
“The electronic medical record is foundational to the patient-provider relationship,” said Randall Gaboriault, MS, MBA, ChristianaCare’s Chief Digital and Information Officer.
“This new feature in iOS 15 and in our electronic medical record is an exciting step forward for patients and providers.
“This is about patient agency—it gives each individual the ability to collect and own their self-generated health data and then choose to make some or all of that data available to their health care provider.
“This in turn opens up an entirely new potential for the patient and care team to engage in conversation and learning that can ultimately improve health.”
This new feature builds on Health Records on iPhone, which creates a direct, encrypted connection between participating health institutions and a patient’s iPhone so patients can see a central view of their allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals directly within the Health app.
Apple worked with the health care community to augment the SMART on FHIR standard to support end-to-end encryption for this health data sharing feature, meaning all data is secure and encrypted in transit and at rest.
Apple does not have access to the encryption keys and cannot view what patients have shared with their health care team. This feature is designed to meet the privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Patients can share information stored in the Health app with their provider by updating their iPhone to iOS 15 and selecting the Sharing tab within the Health app. After tapping “share with your doctor” at the bottom, they can search for and select ChristianaCare, and authenticate with their patient portal username and password, then select certain categories of Health app data to securely share with a chosen provider.
They will also be able to view available health records from ChristianaCare next to their other health information in the Health app whenever they choose.
“For years, patients have had the ability to connect their Apple Health app to their electronic medical record at ChristianaCare so that they can easily view all of their available health data in one place,” Dr. Shiuh said.
“Now, it can become a two-way information exchange. As more and more people use Apple Watch and other wearables and devices that can collect information about heart rhythm, sleep, exercise and more, it creates a wealth of data that can inform the patient-provider conversation and provide us with insights that help us to take better care of patients.”