Focus on Individuals Access and Use of Their Health Information

Focus on Individuals Access and Use of Their Health Information

This year, we expect the percentage of Americans accessing health information to grow, as well as the number of health systems making it possible for patients to access their medical records on their iPhones. Recent guidance by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the release of Apple's iOS 11.3 are two examples.

ONC Guide to Getting and Using Health Records

ONC recently reported that in 2017, half of Americans reported they were offered access to an online medical record by a provider or insurer. That being said, only half of the Americans who were offered access to an online medical record did not access their record.

ONC outlined the challenges patients face in accessing their health information electronically and in response developed "The ONC Guide to Getting and Using your Health Records." The guide informs patients and consumers of the value of health information, and provides individuals with advice on how to:

  • Get their health record, including offering tips through the process of accessing their records electronically,
  • Check their health record to make sure it is complete, correct, and up-to-date, and
  • Use their electronic health records, such as sharing their records to better coordinate their care and using apps and other digital technologies to better manage and improve their health.

Apple Health's mHealth

When Apple released the iOS 11.3 in March 2018, they created a mobile health gateway that makes it possible for patients of 39 health systems to access their health records on their iPhones. And according to Apple, "the updated Health Records section within the Health app helps consumers see medical information from various institutions organized into one view and receive notifications when their data is updated. They go on to say, "this information can help patients better understand their health history, have informed conversations with physicians and family members, and make future decisions." From a security standpoint, the information should be secured because "health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user's iPhone passcode."

If you have questions about providing patients access to their medical records, we can help. Contact us by email: or by phone: 855-427-0427