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Apple Adds Medical Records Feature For iPhone (cnbc.com) 101

On Wednesday, Apple released the test version of a new product that lets users download their health records, store them safely and show them to a doctor, caregiver or friend. "We view the future as consumers owning their own health data," Apple COO Jeff Williams said in an interview with CNBC. From the report: It all works when a user opens the iPhone's health app, navigates to the health record section, and, on the new tool, adds a health provider. From there, the user taps to connect to Apple's software system and data start streaming into the service. Patients will get notified via an alert if new information becomes available. In June, CNBC first reported on Apple's plans, including early discussions with top U.S. hospitals. The company confirmed that it has contracts with about a dozen hospitals across the country, including Cedars-Sinai, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Penn Medicine and the University of California, San Diego. The medical information available will include allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. The information is encrypted and protected through a user's iPhone passcode.
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Apple Adds Medical Records Feature For iPhone

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  • Apple's reaction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Now apple gets to tout that they need flawless encryption to prevent being accused of HIPPA violations!
    Playing one agency of the government against the other ought to be fun.

  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @08:27PM (#55996689)

    So Apple want me to use the same passcode for both my phone access and my medical records? There's no way I'd even consider doing that.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @08:51PM (#55996807)

      This actually the biggest issue I have as well. We need to be able to easily create and manage layers of security within our phones.

      I'm fine with a simple convenient pin or fingerprint to unlock my phone to place a call, check sms, get directions, use the pay parking app, etc.

      But I'd like to have to enter a more secure passphrase to access work email, open documents, view pictures, etc.

      And perhaps have something even above that for banking, or health records.

      Having a secure passphrase to answer the phone makes the phone unusable. And having anything really important protected by a 4 digit code isn't acceptable, so i can't have anything important on my phone as a result.

      • And having anything really important protected by a 4 digit code isn't acceptable, so i can't have anything important on my phone as a result.

        What phone do you have which only offers the choice of a 4-digit lock code? It’s obviously not an iPhone - even the default is 6 digits, and you can choose a pass phrase that’s as arbitrarily hard as you’d like.

        Additionally, there are some options that let you select what TouchID can and can’t be used to unlock. I’ll be curious to see if your health information is one of them in this new beta.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          What phone do you have which only offers the choice of a 4-digit lock code? Itâ(TM)s obviously not an iPhone - even the default is 6 digits, and you can choose a pass phrase thatâ(TM)s as arbitrarily hard as youâ(TM)d like.

          My phone allows an arbitrarily long passphrase. That isn't the problem. However if I set one, then I have to enter it before I can send my wife a text like "I'm running late", or look up where the nearest gas station is. That makes the phone unusable to me.

          So I have a short passphrase that is convenient to enter often.

          But as a result of that decision, I can't keep anything important on my phone at all, because if I did the only thing that stands between the world and the important stuff is a short simple pa

          • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

            I send WhatsApp messages to my wife every day without unlocking my phone. You need a better phone, or you need an education.

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              First WhatsApps is owned by facebook. I wouldn't touch that app.

              Second, the only functionality I'm aware of is the ability to respond to a message via the notification screen. Ie... the only way to send a message without unlocking is to reply to one you have received first. That's hardly a solution.

              If I'm mistaken and you are using different functionality, by all means, go ahead, please educate me.

              Now, for my part, that's not even useful. I have it set that the notifications won't display content until the

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            My phone allows an arbitrarily long passphrase. That isn't the problem. However if I set one, then I have to enter it before I can send my wife a text like "I'm running late", or look up where the nearest gas station is. That makes the phone unusable to me.

            That's why it was discovered over 50% of people did not put a PIN on their phones - because having to enter it to do those things was a huge PITA.

            It's why we have fingerprint scanners and pattern unlocks etc. to make it easier and quicker to unlock.

            And fa

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        Which piece-of-shit phone requires unlocking to answer a call?

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          I was exaggerating slightly. I can answer a call, i can take a picture (but cant look at the gallery). I can call 911. I can see the time. So I can do a few things without unlocking, and that's fine.

          But the point was that there's a bunch of things I want to be able to do with a simple lock; because I want it to be convenient. And there's a few tings I want to do with a hard lock.

          Right now, I can either put everything behind a hard lock, or everything behind an easy lock. I choose an easy phrase, because a h

      • I'm surprised this hasn't even been properly tackled on Windows desktops, which are often shared and/or left unlocked. Plenty of cases where you'd want to encrypt parts of the file system (not entire drives) and protect them with a password. Googling found me plenty of people asking for something similar yet no actual solutions.
      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        But I'd like to have to enter a more secure passphrase to access work email, open documents, view pictures, etc.

        And perhaps have something even above that for banking, or health records.

        Yes, it should be really, really hard for third-parties - like doctors in the ER - to gain access to your medical records, that's a great idea.

        • Again, this is pretty overrated as a concept. It's nice to know, but **usually** isn't a deal breaker. If you're that sick that you can't reply, we don't need what meds you get a rash on..

          The chances of you ending up in the ER critically ill are much less than the chances that some person or agency will want to use that information in a nefarious fashion.

          Nothing is certain, there are always exceptions, Murphy was an optimist.

      • 1password or another password manager does this. I keep my med list / problem list in a file in 1password. Assuming I'm conscious enough to get my finger on the app, I can show medical providers that information. If' I'm that out of it, most of that material is irrelevant.

        Even allergies aren't all that important in a life or death situation. Nice to know, but we can work around them.

    • Tell me about it. My phone is far more important than that!

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'd be more worried about having that data in iCloud. Celebrities' private photos leaking was bad enough, now imagine the next wave of celebrity medical record leaks.

  • We view the future as Apple owning your health data, Apple COO Jeff Williams said, followed by "Ah fuck! Consumers! Consumers! How many fucking times did we rehearse this!?". He then stamped his foot, and, visibly flustered, asked if he could do that line again.
    • by jblues ( 1703158 )

      Siri then piped up on the COO's iPhone X, surplus model, announcing in her cool and precise diction: "Jeff, don't worry . . . in 2025, Apple will own the consumers too, so your statement remains correct".

      The previously only flustered COO now turned bright red, and hurriedly stuffed the iPhone into his pants, before trying to proceed with the interview. "Oh Jeff . . . . ", Siri's muffled voice could be heard to say, "I found 15 billion, 345 million, 625 thousand, 102 advertisements for penis enhancement. Wou

    • "We view the future as consumers owning their own health data," Apple COO Jeff Williams said

      Perhaps he means "owning" because they'll be buying it, through iHealthPortal.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Because Apple wants to be shut down over publicly violating HIPAA. Perhaps you think you're cute, but you're actually a moron and a bigot.

  • How bout NO! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If there is going to be some kind of exchange of patient records between DRs and patients, it needs to be some standard open format. Not apple's proprietary system.

    Not to mention there is already enough with people self diagnosing on the web with the likes of WebMD and crackpot homeopathic sites, Last thing we need to do is empower this even more.

    Also how long till "apple approved" services can import this data, like WebMD above or other crackpot sites and we end up with some huge HIPPA related data leak.

    • Re:How bout NO! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rupert.applin ( 2568619 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @09:02PM (#55996869)
      The solution is based on FHIR which is an open standard - as described here https://www.hl7.org/fhir/overv... [hl7.org] "Healthcare records are increasingly becoming digitized. As patients move around the healthcare ecosystem, their electronic health records must be available, discoverable, and understandable. Further, to support automated clinical decision support and other machine-based processing, the data must also be structured and standardized. (See Coming digital challenges in healthcare) HL7 has been addressing these challenges by producing healthcare data exchange and information modeling standards for over 20 years. FHIR is a new specification based on emerging industry approaches, but informed by years of lessons around requirements, successes and challenges gained through defining and implementing HL7 v2 , HL7 v3 and the RIM, and CDA . FHIR can be used as a stand-alone data exchange standard, but can and will also be used in partnership with existing widely used standards."
      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        Facts have no place in the mind of an Anonymous bigot.

      • It might be an 'open standard' but it's not a very standard standard. Implementations vary all over the map. I'm not even sure Apple is big enough to push everybody else around. Perhaps.

        Things ARE getting better in this respect. The big EHR vendors (and Apple) are trying to make this portal thing work.

        I'm not exactly sure that this is a good thing .....

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      Also how long till "apple approved" services can import this data, like WebMD above or other crackpot sites and we end up with some huge HIPPA related data leak.

      Your "opt-in" will remove any HIPPA concerns.

    • HL7v2 Is widely used for system to system transmission, it is simply stated a Pipe (The standard has this as actually customizable) delimited file where the first 3 characters on each line define the columns for that section. So if the first 3 characters have PV1 it will contain Provider information, PID will have the Patient Identifiers...
      HL7v3 is XML Based version... This isn't widely used, while out for about a decade, the HL7 Protocol is firmly entrenched into most medical systems ecosystems.

      the CCD/CC

  • Really? You think I would trust any COMPANY to guard any of my data. With the rate at which hackers can get into your phone (vendor doesn't matter) I don't bank nor allow any personal information on any device. I have been an IT Systems Engineer for 25 years and know these systems inside and out. Anyone trusting Apple or Google with your data is stupid beyond belief!
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      You think I would trust any COMPANY to guard any of my data.

      I think your complaint isn't so much with "any COMPANY" so much as the physical security of your personal device - your smartphone with your banking or medical history falling into the wrong hands. All the data you want to protect is already in the hands of a "COMPANY".

  • All the EMRs are a failure for two reasons : 1. interoperability does not exist (sending a CCDA yes not work) 2. patient data is not centralized. Maybe Apple is fixing this?
  • Last week they announced hiring dozens of data mining experts and now they want your phone to store all your medical information. Now it all makes sense.
  • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @09:22PM (#55996963)
    ...with an AVM back in the late 1980s, I asked my neurologist what would happen to me if it popped and no one could access the great MRI pictures he'd taken of it. Basically, "too bad". All of you government haters can tune the fuck out right now when I say that ALL of our medical records SHOULD be on-line and available to ALL medical personnel when needed. Before you "privacy-uber-alles" types start getting *your* panties in a wad, there can easily be audit trails and other mechanisms (including SEVERE penalties for inappropriate access to same) to prevent abuse, and you ignore the "greater good". For me, I'd MUCH rather have the EMS personnel responding to my twitching, unconscious body know about my AVM and be able to respond with real, accurate info than worry that someone will find out I got the clap back in 1979. Fuck y'all! You don't want to participate? Fine, have an opt-out option. Me, sign me da fuck up!
    • What is there to hide, really?? 99% of people have absolutely uintetersting medical data. Moreover, 100% of drug companies already have access to your PHI / medical information because pharmacies and health insurance companies sell it.
    • Perhaps you don't care if everyone knows you "got the clap back in 1979," but you might not want everyone to know about your gender-reassignment surgery, your time at a mental health institution, your rehab stints, HIV+ status etc,etc
      • What part of "have an opt out" did you miss?

        For all the "taboo" things you think people care about, the vast majority of the population has no such misgivings about their medical records. A system that improves the general good for the overwhelmingly vast majority of the population is exactly the textbook use case for opt-out systems.

        • Until of course everyone that has "opted out" is looked at with suspicion because the "vast majority" has nothing to hide
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Its worth pointing out that if Paramedics were called to your unconscious twitching body I can guarantee you they will not be wasting any time messing around with an iPhone. There's next to nothing a Medic would be able to do in that situation other than administer oxygen, check glucose levels, basically they'll just "load and go". Some medics are able to administer thrombolytics like TNK, but that's a different scenario. Besides there are already items you can wear on your body such as bracelets that can n

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      For me, I'd MUCH rather have the EMS personnel responding to my twitching, unconscious body know about my AVM and be able to respond with real, accurate info than worry that someone will find out I got the clap back in 1979.

      And while you are lying there, twitching unconscious on the ground, how will the EMS personnel figure out your passcode/pin to access all that "real, accurate info" locked away on your smartphone? Get a medical alert bracelet, put a brief description of your health issue (AVM) and a QR code on it pointing to your online medical records - problem solved.

    • "Too bad" or "sucks to be them"? I can't imagine a situation where you would need MRI data (rather than the text report which your insurance company, their insurance company, the hospital, the radiologist and likely your little sister) has.

      If you 'popped' you Arteriovenous malformation or aneurysm or some other brain bubble, we'll do our own CT, thank you very much and ship you to a neurosurgeon who will do their own CT / MRI or whatever and decide what to do. If you're stable enough for the providers to

  • I have a folder containing PDFs for that.
    But calling it a "feature" sounds much nicer.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      How would a medical professional know to go thumbing through your smartphone when you are lying unconscious in the hospital? Do you happen to have a passcode/pin or other security mechanism the nurse would have to navigate through to access those records?

  • I'd like to know if Apple has any patent on this. If so, I might get a big laugh on my former employer who wasn't interested when I suggested this same idea in the official new-idea system some years ago. They didn't even publish it to prevent anyone else from patenting the approach, but I STILL think it's a good approach, and NOT just for medical information.

    Possession remains 9 points of the law.

  • Cool! So now all i need to do is take a good high resolution of someone, paste that picture onto a 3D model (or on older phones, the gummi bear fingerprint cloning trick), steal their phone and then i have access to all the details about their hemorrhoids and that time they got a cucumber stuck in their rectum. Privacy FTW!
  • The medical information available will include allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. The information is encrypted and protected through a user's iPhone passcode.

    Imagine you've been in a serious car accident, you're taken to the hospital and while you are lying there unconscious the nurse stands near you fumbling with your iPhone, trying to figure out if you have any allergies. You, of course, being unconscious, can't tell the nurse your iPhone passcode.

    How is this anything more than a folder on your phone? Sad that this is considered an "innovation" - how far Apple has fallen since Steve Jobs passed...

    • Congratulations! You've constructed a straw man argument to argue against!

      That's not what this is for. If you have the sort of allergy that an ER needs to know, clearly, you're continuing to wear your Medic Alert bracelet, or similar.

      This is what gives you the option to switch healthcare providers without worrying that your records are being held hostage. This allows you to seek a second opinion more easily. This allows you to own the tests that are run against your own body.

      • That won't work either. If you come to a doctor with your 'own' medical records, there is a very good chance that said doctor will want the 'real' version from the other medical provider. The one that said that you weren't exactly upfront about your alcoholism / addiction / My Little Pony fetish. People lie all of the time. It's a very human condition.

        • True, but it's still better than nothing. And I think the idea here is that *somebody* has to make a neutral interchange platform for medical records, so why not Apple? In other words, that these are the 'real' medical records. They've already got the HealthKit infrastructure in place.
    • Imagine that your are terminally stupid. Now stop pretending to imagine, because you are.

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