Apple fires first salvo in patient EHR’s

KEY TAKEAWAY: 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 Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in an interview with CNBC.  Imagine, actually giving consumers what they want!

Apple’s plans, include 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.

Now imagine the opportunities that are possible with such an app.  Imagine, for example, being able to target patients by test results or profile. Privacy issues? Not of Apple has the data and does not sell it by patient name.  This, in short, is the future of healthcare and more more importantly EHR’s.

While certain EHR companies have been saying that their customers are satisfied with their products”simply satisfied is not what they should be looking for from customers”. Today it’s about exceeding customer expectations so that they become advocates for your brand.  When was the last time you saw a physician saying that Athena was a really great product.

The challenge will be, for healthcare marketers, to provide information based on condition or lab results without being too intrusive.  The last thing any patient wants, for example, is to see an ad for a cholesterol drug when they have high cholesterol.  Instead pharma marketers are going to have to provide information like “what is normal cholesterol” or “the dangers of high cholesterol” so patients don’t have to spend precious time researching online.

Make no mistake about it Apple’s health records is a huge shot at the current EHR vendors.  I’m sure they are already working on the back end for HCP’s.  This is what happens when a consumer company, versus a medical company, develops an app based on patient needs.

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