November 6, 2019
Sarah Burh | Tech Crunch
Apple has teamed up with Veteran Affairs (VA) to allow those who’ve served our country to now access their health records via iPhone. Health records access via Apple’s Health app has been available to iPhone users since the beginning of 2018. However, the ability to access that data has been limited to those hospitals and medical systems working with Apple to allow people to access their records.
The VA started working with select patients on iPhone in a test run earlier this summer and is now able to offer this feature to any veteran who is an iOS user receiving care through through the Veterans Health Administration.
For those who don’t know, the Department of Veteran Affairs is the largest federal agency and the largest integrated medical system in the United States, providing service to more than 9 million veterans. The VA also serves a total of 1,243 medical facilities and outpatient clinics to support these veterans.
Though the VA has in the past included other various health apps catering to the needs of our service men and women, they’ve had a mostly singular focus, like smoking cessation or self care. Apple’s latest addition to the Health app is much more comprehensive, allowing these veterans to see all of their health records — including lab tests, diagnoses, medications, immunizations and other health information all within the Apple Health app on their phone.
Access to personal health records has been a sore spot for many patients, with some systems requiring them to have to ask permission for their own information to share with other doctors and hospital systems. It’s also been an archaic process of printing paper records and faxing over information. Compare that to Apple’s Health Records feature, which provides veterans with both comprehensive access and convenience, allowing them to take a more proactive role in their own healthcare in an easy-to-access digital space while keeping it within a privacy-compliant environment.
“The Health app continually updates these records giving VA patients access to a single, integrated snapshot of their health profile whenever they want, quickly and privately,” an Apple company statement said.