We recently posted about Apple’s announcement of HealthKit, signaling a major move into healthcare for the tech giant. Further details about HealthKit have since been revealed by Reuters in an exclusive report.
Apple is said to be in discussions with “health providers at Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins as well as with Allscripts, a competitor to electronic health records provider Epic Systems.” The objective of the discussion is to determine how HealthKit can be layered into clinical workflow and help to monitor patients between visits.
Apple, Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins and Allscripts declined to officially comment, but the Cleveland Clinic’s Associate Chief Information Officer William Morris confirmed that their “clinical solutions team is experimenting with HealthKit’s beta and is providing feedback to Apple.”
While Apple seeks to revolutionize the way healthcare providers diagnose, treat, and monitor their patients, privacy and security are already raising concerns among patients. HealthKit’s ability to share user data between apps could mean that third-party app developers and even Apple might be subject to HIPAA compliance requirements.
Joy Pritts, the former Chief Privacy Officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare IT (ONC), provided an example wherein Apple and Nike team up to collect patient data collected from wearable technology. The act of simply collecting the data would subject either organization to HIPAA requirements, but “if Apple gets and stores clinical information on behalf of the Mayo Clinic, both would likely have to abide by HIPAA.”
To help navigate the world of HIPAA, Apple has consulted with and hired healthcare experts and compliance professionals, well-versed on patient privacy, security and regulatory requirements. Their goal is said to be to “roll out HealthKit, so that providers – and not Apple — are responsible for adhering to privacy requirements.”