Empowering our patients via Apple’s new health records feature

April 05, 2018
Patient uses the Apple Health app on her smartphone

If you're an iPhone user, you may be familiar with Apple's Health app. It helps you keep track of how many steps you take, how much sleep you're getting, what you’re eating and how often you stop to quiet your mind and relax.

Now, the app features a new health records section that can help you keep track of the medical information you get from your doctors, clinics and hospitals. This feature is now available to patients of Providence Health & Services.

See Apple's announcement and read Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about this new feature.

Frequently asked questions

Who can use this iPhone Health app feature?

The Health app, which comes installed in all iPhones, is available to Providence Health & Services patients with an iPhone running iOS 11.3 or later.

How do I access my health records on the iPhone Health app?

Setup is simple. Getting your health records into your iPhone is as easy as going to the Health Records section of the Health app, searching for Providence Health & Services, and then logging in with your existing MyChart credentials. After you log in to the Health app once, your health records will start to appear and you will be notified when new records are ready to view. Your health record data is kept secure, because it is encrypted and protected with the passcode on your iPhone.

As more patients gain easier access to their medical records, that health information combined with patient-generated data from their device will enable patients to provide their care providers with a more holistic view of their health, strengthening the provider-patient relationship.

Must I have a MyChart account to use this app feature?

Yes, you must have a MyChart account to use this iPhone Health app feature. MyChart is our electronic patient medical record accessible by you, the patient, whenever needed. The iPhone Health app already lets patients keep all of their health and fitness data in one place on their iPhone. With this new feature, patients will be able to authenticate with their credentials from MyChart and create an enduring link to their health records across all of the participating hospitals and clinics.

How do I create a MyChart account if I don’t have one?

If you want to create a MyChart account, please visit Providence MyChart for your area where you are – or were – a patient. You can also work with your provider’s office to enroll in MyChart.

How is this different than the MyChart app?

MyChart is the patient-facing web portal offered by health systems using Epic, giving patients access to the same Epic medical records providers see. Providence is one of the largest health care providers using Epic software for its electronic health record system.

The collaboration with Apple complements the MyChart patient portal. MyChart will continue to provide patients a direct connection to all of the services Providence provides. The Apple Health app can incorporate additional health records from other health systems, plus a patient’s health records from MyChart so you can see all comprehensive health records in one place. Users can also view patient-generated data in the app (such as health and fitness data), creating a more holistic view of your health.

Is my personal health data safe? How is Providence handling security and privacy?

Apple is providing users the ability to request and download their health records through a direct, encrypted connection between the user’s iPhone and the application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by Providence. As part of this feature, Apple is not creating, receiving, maintaining or transmitting protected health information (PHI) for or on behalf of Providence.

When health record data is transferred from Providence to the Health app, it is encrypted and does not go through Apple’s network. When a user’s iPhone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, their health data in the Health app is encrypted on the device. If a user chooses to sync their data with iCloud, it is encrypted while in transit and at rest.

Once the data is in the patient’s hands, it’s the patient’s responsibility to protect the data by keeping the iPhone locked and secure, as well as carefully considering whether it’s appropriate to make it accessible via iCloud. 

How does this iPhone feature benefit patients?

Empowering patients to collect, view and securely store their health records on their iPhone can help them get engaged in their health conditions and treatment options. When patients have their medical information organized into one view right on their iPhone, it can help them better understand their overall health and provide key elements of their medical history when visiting a new doctor.