Partners HealthCare institutions, including BWH, are empowering patients to better manage their health using Apple’s new Health Records feature and other consumer health applications. Patients enrolled in the Partners Patient Gateway health portal can now authorize parts of their medical record to be shared with a range of third-party apps, enabling them to play a bigger role in their own care through technology. 

Apple is one of the first major technology companies to provide this capability through a mobile app. The Health Records feature can be accessed through the iPhone Health app upon upgrading to iOS 11.3. Partners and BWH are among the nation’s leading health care systems working with Apple to support this new feature. 

Patients using the Apple Health app can view their current medical information – including allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and recent vital signs – from multiple providers. Additionally, the app can notify patients if their data has been updated.

Besides making it easier for patients to access their data, consumer applications such as iPhone’s Health app offer new opportunities to streamline care. For example, the Health Records feature enables patients to sync their current medical history from more than one health care system – allowing both sets of records to be viewed through the same interface. This combined presentation of data makes it easier to visualize health trends and the effects of any interventions patients have implemented in collaboration with their providers.  

“We know that engaging patients in their own care can make a profound difference in their health,” said Adam Landman, MD, chief information officer at Brigham Health. “Supporting this new feature aligns with our broader goal of expanding and accelerating access to digital tools for our patients.”

The Health Records feature within Apple’s Health app contains a directory of connected organizations, including Partners HealthCare and its founding members, Brigham Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. All Partners Patient Gateway users, regardless of where they receive care in the Partners system, may access their data through any of the three Partners listings. 

Patients who would like to authorize consumer health applications to access their health data must initiate this function from an app specifically designed to use this capability; a provider cannot do so on a patient’s behalf. In addition, information currently flows one way only – from the electronic health record to the patient. Patients cannot use the app to alter their data in Partners Patient Gateway.