It’s been just about a year since Apple Inc. rolled out a feature called Health Records in its health app to let consumers access and share electronic health information with their providers.
Now, an early user of Health Records, UC San Diego Health, is releasing some early—but limited—data on how much patients like the Apple feature. With Health Records, consumers can have medical information from various institutions organized into one view covering allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. They also will receive notifications when their data is updated. Health records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Apple says.
UC San Diego Health, along with John Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Geisinger Health System, UNC Healthcare, Rush University Medical Center, Dignity Health, Oschner Health System, MedStar Help, Ohio Health and Cerner Health, was an early adopter of Health Records.
To find out if patients liked, disliked or even used Health Records, UC San Diego Health surveyed 425 who downloaded the app and received 132 responses. But the survey only asked three questions:
● How satisfied they were with using the feature;
● If Health Records improved their understanding of their own health or facilitated conversations with their doctors and improved sharing of personal health information with friends and family;
● If using Health Records had improved their overall health.
Patients gave Health Records high marks for satisfaction—96% of patients found it easy enough to download and use. 90% of patients taking the UC San Diego Health survey also indicated that downloading and using the app made it easier to share health information with doctors, families and friends.
But less than one-half of patients—48%—said Apple Health Records improved their overall health.
“The platform will need to prove that it is useful, sustainable, scalable, and actually improves health outcomes,” says Christian Dameff, a UC San Diego Health emergency medicine physician and co-author of a new viewpoint published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “The key questions are whether this personal health record will improve patient outcomes and lower costs while also increasing quality.
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