Thursday, June 15, 2017

Apple plots medical record integration with iPhone →

Christina Farr for CNBC:

CNBC has learned that a secretive team within Apple’s growing health unit has been in talks with developers, hospitals and other industry groups about bringing clinical data, such as detailed lab results and allergy lists, to the iPhone, according to a half-dozen people familiar with the team. And from there, users could choose to share it with third parties, like hospitals and health developers.

This definitely has to be a long-term goal for Apple, because dealing with the healthcare industry is basically dealing with government (speaking from experience). There’s a ton of compliancy concerns, like HIPAA1, not to mention many healthcare systems are technically-inept and slow to change. Dealing with EMR2 systems can also be a programming nightmare. As a whole, healthcare systems are extremely vulnerable to attack simply because of their data. The WannaCry ransomware outbreak is just the most recent example.

That said, I’m sure Apple will do this one day. It will just take time and partnership with healthcare titans who are ahead of the curve, technology-wise, and share in this vision of increased pervasiveness of medical data.

People themselves are becoming more open and accepting to sharing their medical data if the benefits outweigh the perceived risk. Tim Cook frequently says ‘only Apple can do this’, which is sometimes viewed as hyperbole, but this mantra will be so true in this space. Their stock as the ‘privacy and security’ company is going to pay off in this arena one day—and it will be natural. Nobody will question giving their data to Apple, because of the strong grounding they’ve laid with respects to consumer data across the board.


  1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. 
  2. Electronic Medical Records. Popular developers include Cerner, Epic, and Allscripts.