Reports indicate that Apple is developing technology that will give users of iPhones easier access to medical information that was previously hard to reach such as doctor’s comments, prescriptions, diagnoses and lab results. According to sources, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has been in talks with industry groups, hospitals and developers with a view to increasing the accessibility of medical records.
Currently, most of the information on patients is in Portable Document Formats (PDF) email attachments which makes it near-impossible for patients and doctors to find and then share with various health institutions. Health experts have argued that this state of affairs endangers lives.
Central management system
Having brought revolutionary changes to many sectors, the music industry for instance, Apple is convinced it can solve this problem as well. The iPhone maker plans to tackle the problem through the creation of a management system that is centralized and this will ensure that data emanating from all kinds of sources can be lumped together in one system that is easy to navigate.
To ensure this happens, it has been reported that Apple is ready to make acquisitions especially startups operating in the cloud hosting arena, an indication that the solution would involve storing medical data in the cloud. It has also been reported that the tech giant has been hiring developers with experience in FHIR – Fast healthcare Interoperability Resources. FIHR is a popular protocol that is used in the exchange of electronic health records.
Hiring and acquisitions
Some of Apple’s new recruits include a Duke University physician whose expertise is in medical informatics. Apple has also recruited a former Epic Systems employee. Epic Systems is a healthcare software firm that is privately-owned.
Apple’s increasing foray into healthcare has come in the wake of a Citigroup analyst calling for the tech giant to acquire Athenahealth to put itself in a position to make a bigger impact. In a note to clients, Garen Sarafian said that by acquiring the health technology company whose market value currently stands at $6 billion, Apple would become better equipped at solving one of healthcare’s biggest issues – making medical data more accessible and exchangeable.