iPhone users at more than 100 hospitals and clinics in the US can now access parts of their medical records through the Health app, Apple announced today. The Health Records section of the app debuted in January with the iOS 11.3 beta, and today’s update makes it available to everyone who updates their phone to the latest version.
The medical information — such as allergies, medical conditions, vaccinations, lab tests, medical procedures, and vitals — will be available to iPhone users who are patients at 39 health systems that are working with Apple, including Stanford Medicine and Johns Hopkins. Before the update, the medical records section of the app was only available to the people who had signed up to test a pre-release version.
Providing patients with a way to easily see their medical records gives them somewhat better control over their health information, which can stay stuck in the silos of individual health systems. Some healthcare groups — like Kaiser, for example — already offer patients a way to look at their medical records from their mobile devices or desktop. The idea here with Apple is that multiple systems are collected into a single app.
Ready access to medical records might also help patients catch potentially dangerous mistakes. If their weight is recorded incorrectly, for example, it could lead to patients receiving the wrong dosages of medications. Poorly designed electronic health records, or EHRs, have been linked to medical errors, according to a recent study.