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Apple now provides you with direct access to your medical records

Wondering how to obtain a copy of all your medical records? Perhaps you may not need to.

Apple users who are patients at 39 health systems (listed here) representing hundreds of hospitals are now able to access parts of their medical records through the Health app. Before the iOS 11.3 update, only those who signed up to the test version of Apple Health Records could access the service.

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When it comes to healthcare, most people don’t have any idea what’s in their medical record. Information about you can be held in various places, including your doctor, any hospital where you’ve had treatment, your dentist practice, and so on.

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Image source: Apple

What if you could look at your records whenever you choose to, without needing to print them? Advances in technology are increasingly making this possible by allowing patients access this type of information online. And Apple is now tapping into this. The iOS 11.3 Health app update allows you to pull up this type of data with just a couple of taps.

Health Records app - Apple now provides you with direct access to your medical records
Image source: Apple

To use the service you’ll need to add your medical providers in the Health Records app. More and more hospitals are signing up to the service, as are medical-record vendors. This includes Cedars-Sinai, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Penn Medicine and the University of California, San Diego. This list, of course, will grow over time as more hospitals and clinics connect to the platform, Apple says.

“We view the future as consumers owning their own health data,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in an interview with CNBC earlier this year.

The type of information you are able to access includes allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. To keep prying eyes away, all data is encrypted and protected by your iPhone passcode.

Ultimately, “we’re hoping to enable richer conversations between doctor and patient,” said Sumbul Desai, Apple’s digital health lead who’s also a physician and medical researcher and formerly worked at Stanford.

Knowledge is power. When the service is fully operational you’ll be able to look at your illnesses, immunisations and test results before your appointment to see if there is anything you need to discuss with your doctor. You’ll come prepared allowing you to benefit more from your appointment. Plus you’ll be able to make sure your medical information is accurate.

“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years — to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone,” added Williams.

“By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.”

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