Health RecordsSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple is set to attend a meeting held by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • It will take place this coming Monday, January 27.
  • The group taking part hopes to make it easier for patients to access their health data.

Apple is set to attend a meeting of around 40 different companies, in a bid to try and make it easier for patients to access their health data.

As reported by CNBC:

Apple and Microsoft will each be sending a representative to a meeting on Monday hosted by a group that's supporting efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to make it easier for patients to access and share their medical information.

The nonpartisan Carin Alliance, which describes its focus as "advancing consumer-directed exchange in health care," posted the attendee list and talking points on its website on Friday. More than 40 people representing some of the biggest companies in the industry are planning to attend, either in person or by phone, according to the list.

They'll be meeting as part of an effort to push through a rule change proposed by HHS in 2019 to promote medical data interoperability. The proposal has been in a public comment period, with backers hoping it will be finalized in the coming weeks.

The report notes that Apple and Microsoft's inclusion is notable, as many patients still receive their health data via CD-ROM or fax, or are denied access altogether. Apple's Ricky Bloomfield, who has worked on adding health information to iPhone, will attend on its behalf by telephone.

The initiative is not without opposition. Epic systems, a large US medical records company, has urged large hospitals to oppose the move over concerns around data privacy. A document published by the Carin Alliance said it wanted to reach a resolution on the matter without "further delay", and that "these rules play an important role in empowering an individual with access to their own health data."

This is not uncharted territory for Apple. In November of 2019, Apple announced that health records for veterans across the US were being made available on iPhone in partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, significantly improving access for veterans who receive their care through the Veterans Health Administration.

Alongside Apple and Microsoft, participants in the meeting include Cerner, Walgreens, Humana and Blue Shield of California.