Community Health Systems will launch Apple Health Records in 100 of its facilities to promote patient data access and data sharing.
Community Health Systems, Inc., will now offer patients access to Apple Health Records to enable seamless patient data access and data sharing.
Apple Health Records allow patients to plug in multiple health data sources – the patient portal and other apps that produce patient-generated health data – into one digital personal health record. Patients have the power to share this record with their providers, thus becoming the arbiters of patient data sharing.
The rollout, which will begin at 100 CHS hospitals, comes as a part of CHS efforts to improve patient-centered care, according to Lynn Simon, MD, CHS president of clinical operations and chief medical officer.
“At CHS, we are rapidly expanding our digital health and consumer engagement strategies to provide patients with more convenience, more information, and more control over their healthcare experiences,” Simon said in a statement. “By giving our patients an easy way to receive and track their medical information, we believe we also are giving them one more way to be active participants in managing their health, which can lead to better outcomes.”
The Apple Health Records launch will help patients better manage their own medical records, an essential step in driving patient-centered care. As more healthcare professionals aim to integrate patients into the care team, they look for strategies to empower the patient. Putting patients in charge of health data is one key step toward that.
But patients often face challenges in managing their own health data, especially as it relates to limited interoperability and data siloes.
The Apple Health Records launch aims to overcome that challenge, allowing patients to plug in their patient portals and other medical apps and integrate that data into one medical record.
“Since most people keep their mobile devices with them, this means all of that medical information is accessible whenever it is needed,” Simon explained. “We are literally putting health data in the palm of the patient’s hand, which can be critical in an emergency and also enables patients to have more informed conversations with all of their physicians.”
CHS is yet another in a long line of health systems to have adopted Apple Health Records. The tool first launched in April, 2018, with early adopters from some of the biggest health systems in the country. Since then, the likes of the Cleveland Clinic, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Henry Ford Health System have all adopted Apple Health Records.
Apple Health Records has gained notoriety because of its promise to empower patients and break down data siloes, according to Cleveland Clinic Medical Director of Digital Health Peter Rasmussen, MD.
“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,” Rasmussen, who is also a neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic, said following Health Records adoption at the Clinic. “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.”
Although only a year old, Apple Health Records has shown some promise at improving patient care and experience. A May 2018 report from KLAS noted that most early adopters thought the technology promising because of the opportunity for new application programming interfaces and patient engagement tools.
January 2019 data also found that Apple Health Records boost patient satisfaction. In a brief, anonymous survey of the 425 University of California San Diego (UCSD) patients who had activated their Apple Health Records accounts, the researchers found that the tool is meeting patient expectations.
Ninety-six percent of respondents said they could easily connect their mobile devices to the platform, and 78 percent said they were satisfied using the feature.
Ninety percent of respondents said the tool had enhanced their healthcare experience and communication in some way. Apple Health Records had either improved their understanding of their own health, facilitated more meaningful conversations between themselves and their providers, or created more in-depth health conversations between themselves and a family caregiver.
However, only 48 percent of patient respondents said they saw improvement in all three of those above-mentioned areas.
Although some researchers credit the Health Records success with the tool’s newness and Apple’s name recognition, it may be too early to make any definitive calls. Going forward, healthcare professionals should look at how the tool drives patient engagement in care, care outcomes, and patient data access.
Date: April 16, 2019