metamorworks -

EHR Vendor Cerner Links with Apple For Patient Health Data Exchange

The EHR vendor’s partnership with Apple empowers patients to securely exchange personal health data with their providers and family members.

EHR vendor Cerner Corporation has partnered with Apple on a new feature that aims to promote patient empowerment by allowing patients to share personal health data with their families and providers, according to The Kansas City Star.

Apple’s iOS 15 operating system, set to hit the market this fall, allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to track metrics like heart rate, sleep, and steps. Patients can then elect to share certain personal health data with healthcare providers or family members.

“Upon availability, Cerner participating US healthcare provider clients can enable patients to share health data in a secure and private way to drive more informed, meaningful conversations with their clinicians,” Cerner wrote in an email to EHRIntelligence.

The partnership comes as providers are looking to boost patient empowerment through access to personal health data.

“What that means for a patient is that they have the right to choose an app of their choice and gain access to their clinical data and use it however they want,” Sam Lambson, Cerner’s vice president of interoperability, told the newspaper.

Ultimately, better patient data sharing should improve chronic disease self-management. For instance, those deemed at risk for diabetes can monitor blood glucose rates and share that data with doctors, nurses, or dietitians, Lambson said.

“That’s a powerful enabler for people to take charge of their own care and then work it in their clinical conversations,” he continued.

“This past year has emphasized the importance of health, and we’re enabling our users to take a more active role in their well-being,” Jeff Williams, Apple COO, said in a news release. “We’ve added powerful features that give users the most comprehensive set of insights to better understand their health trends over time.”

Jessica Oveys, Cerner director of product market management, noted that Apple and Cerner both have measures in place to keep patient’s personal health data secure.

“From a security perspective, Apple has been very clear that they don’t have access to the data,” she explained. “It’s stored and managed in such a way that it really is patient-specific. It’s not like we have engineers here that access that information. That design has been critical to them.”

Apple said that this feature could benefit patient care in a variety of capacities. For instance, an adult child could monitor the heart health data of an aging parent, someone could share fertility insights with their partner, or a person diagnosed with Parkinson’s could share mobility data with a physical therapist.

“Many people around the world are caring for someone, and we want to provide a secure and private way for users to have a trusted partner on their health journey,” Williams continued.

Oveys noted that last year, the EHR vendor partnered with Amazon to provide the data sharing capabilities for Amazon’s Halo Band, a wearable device that monitors sleep, physical activity, and emotional well-being.

However, the partnership with Apple will go much further due to the sheer amount of data its devices will be able to collect, she explained.

MEDITECH also announced recently that it has joined forces with Apple to promote patient data exchange.

“For too long our industry has worked in silos, and patients have been left out of the decision as to who has access to their health records and when,” Helen Waters, MEDITECH executive vice president, said in a press release at the time of the announcement. “Patient empowerment is an important element to any successful interoperability strategy.”

“We are excited to support this new feature in the Apple Health app and work with our customers to provide patients with a convenient means of sharing their health records and other types of health data with their physicians and care teams,” Waters continued. “This is a big step forward for healthcare and a significant win for consumer engagement.”

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Interoperability in healthcare

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing