EHR Vendors Partner with Apple HealthKit

Cerner and athenahealth join Epic to Bring Apple HealthKit to Customers

After months of hype and anticipation, bugs and delays, Apple’s HealthKit has arrived. HealthKit is Apple’s new software platform that collects data from disparate health and fitness apps and aggregates the data for consumers. Consumers can then share the data with their providers. For a HIPAA-perspective on this, read Matt Fisher’s post, Apple’s Health App and HealthKit and HIPAA. Matt writes:

Will HIPAA be a barrier to what Apple appears to be trying to do, or is it an issue that can be overcome? The answer will depend upon how the information is used and who uses it. It may not be possible to predict all of the different issues that may arise, since the Health App has not been used in the public yet, but it is still possible to identify and discuss how HIPAA can be addressed and handled.

According to Forbes, “Apple executives have repeatedly touted the breakthrough potential of HealthKit, suggesting it solves two major problems in the health care industry: That patients’ data is fragmented and incomplete, and that personal health apps and devices don’t talk to each other.” The HealthKit will be available to Apple users through the company’s new Health app and will come installed on the recently released  iPhone 6.

Epic, the dominant EHR vendor for hospitals, has been working with Apple on the HealthKit for quite some time. With Apple poised to collect literally billions of data points on consumers across the spectrum, it’s no surprise there would be huge interest in finding a way to get the data into clinical systems, and specifically EHRs. Epic says its customers will use the HealthKit through Epic’s MyChart app. Read more on this on Health Data Management’s article, Epic Ties MyChart App to Apple HealthKit.

Now Cerner and athenahealth have announced that they too will be integrating the HealthKit platform. According to a report on Reuters, “Cerner and Athenahealth representatives said they are building integrations with HealthKit and working with Apple.” From Reuters:

athenahealth vice president Abbe Don said the company will use HealthKit to help patients with chronic conditions like diabetes. Cerner senior director Brian Carter said care teams, including doctors and nurses, will be able to access data from HealthKit with patients’ consent. Carter said they will work closely with “focused smaller organizations” to prove the value of the service. He said the initial integration will focus on wellness and preventing the onset of chronic conditions.

athenahealth’s Don said the company will test its “proof of concept” application with one client, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a non-profit health center based in New York. Don said medical device makers are also working on HealthKit integrations for use in early trials.