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Why Dignity Health joined the Apple Health Records initiative

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The world has taken note as non-traditional players have been edging their way into the healthcare space. Apple is no exception. Earlier this year, the company invited a group of hospitals to beta test its Health Records program. Two months later, the tech giant officially launched the capability.

San Francisco-based Dignity Health was in the original cohort of 12 organizations that beta tested Apple’s Health Records feature.

During a panel at MedCity ENGAGE in San Diego on November 6-7, Dignity Health senior director of digital care transformation Kelly Summers will speak about her health system’s experience with Apple. Ahead of the conference, Summers gave a preview of what will be discussed.

While considering the overall patient experience, Dignity knew it was time to rethink how consumers traditionally access their personal health records.

“Although technology continues to give us greater control of and access to information and our personal data, the nature of how we access our health records lags behind,” Summers said via email. “As we look to the future of healthcare, we know that giving consumers control of their health data can lead to richer discussions with physicians, which helps yield better outcomes.”

Thus, Dignity decided to take part in Apple’s beta program.


Attend MedCity ENGAGE to hear from healthcare experts like Kelly Summers. Save an additional $50 using the MCN50 code. Register now.


Summers believes the initiative will lead to improved patient engagement because individuals can see their healthcare data all in one place on their phone. Through Apple Health Records, a patient becomes “the integrator of their health information,” she said. As part of the program, clinicians can also have a more complete view of their patients and be able to help them achieve better outcomes.

At Dignity Health, patients and providers alike have shown interest in the Apple program, and the overall response has been positive, Summers said.

She added that the technology has enabled “the creation and use of new health and wellness apps that foster patient self-management and greater continuity of care.”

Looking ahead, Dignity wants to work toward having data move cross-directionally between patients and physicians. In an ideal world, a consumer could go to a doctor’s appointment and get a push notification on their phone to instantly give their provider the latest updates to their health records, Summers said.

“It’s my hope that more health systems will work to combine their knowledge of healthcare with the latest technology in development — in this case, from Apple,” she concluded. “Only with widespread adoption of health innovations will all populations of patients get access to and benefit from the convenience technology now allows.”

Photo: pepifoto, Getty Images

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