Apple unveils iPhone health records to veterans

Matt Saintsing
February 11, 2019 - 2:42 pm

ID 119327752 © Michaeljayberlin | Dreamstime.com

Let's say you get settled at your VA appointment when doctors see something concerning in the results of a recent medical test. So, you get an x-ray and walk to another exam room to meet with a doctor who can tell you what’s going on.

Now imagine, the entire time you walk around with your medical records are inside your pocket, on your iPhone. The days of hauling paper medical records spanning years or even decades may soon be over.

That ambition is closer to becoming realized. Veterans will soon be able to access their medical records through the iPhone Health Records App, Apple announced Monday, the latest partnership between a tech giant and the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The new collaboration will hopefully provide the VA doctors who treat millions of veterans the chance to view everything from past surgeries, test results, prescriptions, and diagnoses, conveniently located in a single, accessible place. 

“We have great admiration for veterans, and we’re proud to bring a solution like Health Records on iPhone to the veteran community,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. 

“It’s truly an honor to contribute to the improved healthcare of America’s heroes,” Cook said. 

Photo Courtesy of Apple

All of the data will be encrypted into the veteran’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID. 

“When patients have better access to their health information, they have more productive conversations with their physicians,” added Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “By bringing Health Records on iPhone to VA patients, we hope veterans will experience improved healthcare that will enhance their lives."

Apple was reported to be in negotiations with VA about this venture in November. 

Last fall, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis singed a joint letter committing both departments to find a “single, seamlessly integrated electronic health record” that will follow a service member through their service and beyond. 

“We’re raising the bar in collaborating with private sector organization to create and deploy innovative digital products for veterans,” Wilkie said in a statement announcing the collaboration. “Veterans should be able to access their health data at any time, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come to accomplishing this.”

Electronic health records have alluded developers who say one issue is how fragmented the health care industry is; another is a lack of an integrated tech framework that could work with multiple systems nationwide.

The VA has looked to Silicon Valley to solve these problems. 

All that’s needed is an iPhone and the app. Following a visit to a VA health care facility, the veteran can expect their phone to receive the updated health record information within 24 hours automatically. 

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.