Apple's calls to open up access to health data are unsurprisingly opposed by those who hold it

Health data on iPhone
Health data on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple wants people to have easier access to health data.
  • Rule changes to make that happen are being discussed.
  • But 60 hospitals have said they oppose the idea.

Apple is a strong supporter of potential rule changes that will make it easier for patients to gain access to their health data and then move it around as they see fit. But one of the companies that provide systems for holding that data, Epic Systems, isn't keen. And it's convinced 60 hospitals that it's right.

The rule changes proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services would make health data more transparent and more portable, according to CNBC. And while Apple is working with the Carin Alliance to get the ball rolling, Epic Systems says that it will impact hospitals and endanger privacy.

"While we support HHS' goal of empowering patients with their health data and reducing costs through the 21st Century Cures Act, we are concerned that ONC's Proposed Rule on interoperability will be overly burdensome on our health system and will endanger patient privacy. Specifically, the scope of regulated data, the timeline for compliance, and the significant costs and penalties will make it extraordinarily difficult for us to comply."

Epic Systems has had 60 hospitals write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Aza in an attempt to get its point across.

Apple has been making great strides in its push into the world of health in recent years, specifically since it made Apple Watch its main focus in that area. Making it easier for iPhone and Apple Watch apps to access data is obviously a good thing for Apple.

It stands to reason that those who hold the data wouldn't want to give it up, of course. But hopefully that won't be a good enough reason to prevent the changes being made.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.