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This article was published on July 31, 2019

Apple, Google, and Microsoft partner to provide digital access to patients’ health records

Apple, Google, and Microsoft partner to provide digital access to patients’ health records

Representatives from major tech companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have joined with some of the biggest health insurers and hospitals in an initiative to provide consumers with easier access to their medical information.

Called the CARIN Blue Button API, the data model is a standard for sharing health claims data, which includes tests, doctors’ visits and medical procedures.

The specs have been developed by the CARIN Alliance, a coalition of health and tech companies that was set up to advance “consumer-directed exchange of health information.”

“The CARIN Blue Button draft implementation guide includes more than 240 claim data elements that have been agreed on by multiple regional and national health plans,” said the alliance.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft have developed their own health-focused initiatives, but the lack of a standard data model have made it difficult to access clinical information across different platforms.

Apple, for instance, has partnered with a number of hospitals in the US to allow patients to “view important data such as immunizations, lab results, medications, and vitals” via the Health app on iPhones and iPods. Microsoft, similarly, has its HealthVault offering to store and maintain health and fitness information.

The Blue Button 2.0 standard is an important step forward because it offers a broad overview of a patient’s health no matter where they received their care.

This could effectively translate to better data portability irrespective of the device and the platform, thereby making the process a lot more efficient.

The standard is currently in its draft stage, but the alliance plans to test out the specification later this year. While Blue Button 2.0 is currently limited to the US, hopefully a similar standard will cross the Atlantic and make it to other countries soon.

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