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June 16, 2017

Apple’s iPhone may be the next place to store medical information

Apple may be gearing up to make storing clinical data on an iPhone possible. Several insiders have let it slip that the company is talking to developers, hospitals and other industry groups. It should become possible for patients to store their medical data on their phone, and share it with medical professionals.

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CNBC reports that tech-giant Apple is taking steps to bring healthcare to the iPhone. Up until now, the company’s focus has primarily been on fitness and health. New moves by the company, like hiring Dr. Sumbul Desai, the executive director of Stanford Medicine’s center for digital health, show that Apple is taking the health game seriously. While Apple hasn’t confirmed, nor denied, the speculation, experts believe that the tech-company will soon host clinical information.

Sharing medical data

Apple would be taking on a big problem in the healthcare industry, namely the so-called "interoperability crisis". Right now, patients who would like to share their medical information with several hospitals and medical professionals are having a hard time finding a proper platform to do so. Thus, professionals and patients alike resort to using PDF files and e-mail. Not ideal, since mailing separate files back and forth could mean misdiagnosing patients, missing information and making unnecessary mistakes.

Ownership to patients

Using a phone to store and share your personal medical information could simplify this process. It would also give the patient primary ownership of their medical records. They would be the ones to decided who sees their records, and who doesn’t. It would make tracking health easier, since people gain insight in their overall health. Right now, it is only possible to track things like sleep patterns and steps with the help of several apps. The clinical information Apple is looking to store, would however include detailed lab results, allergy lists, doctor’s visits and prescriptions.

The company has allegedly been looking at startups in the cloud hosting space about potential acquisitions that might fit into this plan. It has also been in talks with health IT industry groups and has been hiring electronic health developers.

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