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mHealth Provider Uses Apple Health Records to Support House Calls

Heal is integrating Apple's Health Records platform with its mHealth app to enable its care providers making house calls to access a consumer's health data through an iPhone or iPad.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- A new mHealth service is taking advantage of Apple’s Health Records platform.

Heal, the Los Angeles-based developer of a connected care platform for house calls, announced today that its OnCall iPad app will integrate with Apple’s digital health resource, giving mobile health providers access to a patient’s health records from participating health systems through a mobile device.

“A doctor in the home sees data about a person’s environment and lifestyle that simply isn’t accessible within the walls of the hospital,” Dr. Renee Dua, Heal’s Chief Medical Officer and co-founder, said in a press release. “The invaluable insights a Heal doctor gains from the home, combined with liberated data means we can provide an unprecedented level of care that is more precise than ever before.”

Hundreds of hospitals, health systems, medical practices and clinics have announced access to the Health Records app since its launch on iOS 11.3 in January 2018, enabling consumers to access their health records through Apple’s mHealth platform.

“Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one,” Stephanie Reel, Chief Information Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a press release issued by Apple this past April, when the number of providers using the app jumped from the 12 that had been testing it in beta form to more than 40.

“Access to one’s own medical records is a crucial part of the digital transformation taking place in healthcare today, and enhances our relationship with our patients,” Pater Rasmussen, MD, a neurosurgeon and Medical Director of Digital Health at the Cleveland Clinic, which adopted the mHealth platform in July, told PatientEngagementHIT. “Our goal is to make that access as easy, convenient and useful as possible, placing patients firmly in the center of their own health data.”

Heal launched in 2015 with backing from, among others, Lionel Richie, Qualcomm executive chairman Dr. Paul Jacobs and the Ellison family of Oracle fame, and is now entrenched on both sides of the country. It’s part of a growing trend of entrepreneurs and healthcare providers offering on-demand care services directly to the consumer’s home.

Consumers booking a house call through the Heal app can choose to share data accessible through Health Records with the care providers sent to the house by Heal. The patient’s health records are not stored in the OnCall app, Heal officials said, and “remain secure on Heal’s HIPAA-compliant, fully-encrypted servers.”

Apple has also opened its application programming interface (API) to third-party innovators and researchers, expanding the possibilities for telehealth collaboration.

“Medical information may be the most important personal information to a consumer, and offering access to Health Records was the first step in empowering them,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in a statement. “Now, with the potential of Health Records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health. With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day.”

The integration with Heal’s platform highlights opportunities for mobile health providers – such as ambulance and EMS crews, community paramedicine programs, concierge medicine services and even mobile health units – to tap into the resource.

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