Trust is a vital component in Apple Health Records initiative


Health records firm worried policy supported by Apple will hurt patients
Apple’s CEO says people know their iPhone can be trusted to securely hold their health records.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s CEO is optimistic about his company’s plan to have the iPhone store all our health records, even though it got a black eye recently: turns out some third-party iOS apps leaked health-related data to Facebook. 

But Tim Cook says that people trust Apple because the company has a deep commitment to user privacy, and people know that. 

Last year, Apple launched a system to let iOS users see their medical history right on their mobile device. This transfers the encrypted  information directly from the hospital or doctor to the iPhone; it doesn’t go through Apple servers.

“People will look at this and feel that they can trust Apple,” Tim Cook said in an interview with NPR. “That’s a key part of anyone that you’re working with on your health.”

Apple frequently states a strong commitment to user privacy. Unlike Google and Facebook, it doesn’t sell user data to advertisers. And Cook believes that’s a requirement for anyone trying to build a system that involves healthcare records. “The reality is that I know for me, I want to do business with people that have my health data, people that I deeply trust.”

More about Apple Health Records

It’s still getting started, but there are already over 160 entries on Apple’s list of “Institutions that support health records on iPhone” from across the U.S. Patients of these doctors and hospitals can get their records stored electronically in the iOS Health app.

Data available through the software  includes immunizations, lab results, allergies, medications and vitals.

About those apps leaking info…

As for the third-party software leaking data to Facebook,  Apple pointed out that the apps didn’t have access to the records stored by the Health app, just information that the software had collected on their own.

Apple also warned that by sending this data to a third-party without users’ permission, the app’s developers put themselves at risk of being removed from the App Store.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.