Apple lets veterans track their health records on the iPhone
Active members of the military and those who've left the service who receive care through Veteran Health Administration hospitals will be able to view all their personal medical data through the Health Records feature on their iPhones. Apple and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made the announcement on Monday.
Starting this summer, vets will be able to view an integrated snapshot of records from such providers pertaining to allergies, immunizations, vitals, test results, medications, procedures, conditions, and so on. The data is encrypted.
Following a visit to a VA health care facility, the participating vet's Apple device will automatically receive updated health record information within 24 hours.
The Health app on the iPhone isn't new, nor is the Health Records feature within the app where the data will be stored. It was updated last year to make it simpler for patients to chase down records from disparate medical providers, and keep them in one convenient repository. The feature itself is still technically in beta.
Among the growing list of more than 200 providers in the program are institutions such as Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, Calif., NYU Langone Health in New York, and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are also participants.
The latest announcement brings the VA hospitals into the fold.
To add health data from the VA, vets will sign in with their military credentials inside the Health App, just as people seeking records from other medical providers sign in with the credentials used to access the various institution's respective patient portals. An Apple ID is never used.
The VA indicated a willingness to partner with other companies to bring similar capabilities to other mobile platforms.
In a release, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We have great admiration for veterans, and we're proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community. It's truly an honor to contribute to the improved health care of America's heroes."
Apple's move is just the latest by the company to salute the country's fighting men and women. In December, Apple launched a dedicated online store for military members, veterans and their immediate families featuring 10 percent discounts on almost all the products available in the store.
"We don't view (veterans) as a market, per se," says Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "It's not about the business, it's about taking care of people who have done so much for our country."
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