Apple brings veterans’ health records into 21st century

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Apple Health Records veterans
It’s a first for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Photo: Apple

Apple today confirmed that the Health Records feature on iPhone will soon be available to veterans.

The company is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that, for the first time, U.S. veterans receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration will have access to their health records directly on their iPhone.

Apple has been slowly but surely revolutionizing healthcare with its products and services since the introduction of the HealthKit framework and Health app in 2014.

Now it is extending the benefits to the estimated 9 million veterans across the U.S., who will be able to access medical information from participating institutions inside the Health app.

‘Truly an honor’ for Apple

“We have great admiration for veterans, and we’re proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “It’s truly an honor to contribute to the improved healthcare of America’s heroes.”

The data available to veterans will include allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals, Apple explains. It will be displayed alongside other information in the Health app, such as Apple Watch data, to deliver a single, “integrated snapshot” of their health profile.

“When patients have better access to their health information, they have more productive conversations with their physicians,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams. “By bringing Health Records on iPhone to VA patients, we hope veterans will experience improved healthcare that will enhance their lives.”

And because this is Apple, all data is encrypted and protected by the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

A better understanding of medical health

Apple’s goal, according to Kevin Lynch, its vice president of technology, is to give veterans the opportunity “to better understand and improve their health.”

The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that the deal between Apple and the VA will include technical support and special tools that will allow veterans currently enrolled in the system to transfer their health records to the iPhone.

Apple’s ultimate goal, that report claimed, “is to enable patients to import their records and share them with health-related apps, which would use the data to provide services like automated prescription refills, according to people familiar with Apple’s plans.”

Apple says that Health Records on iPhone is the first record-sharing platform of its kind available to the VA.