Apple adds HL7's standard support to HealthKit

Person putting finger on cellphone

Apple is making a huge stride toward empowering healthcare consumers with greater control over data and boosting data sharing with its HealthKit platform.

The tech giant is adding support for HL7’s Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) and the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) to its HealthKit platform. It will provide a standard approach, via XML, to communicate health history in a simple and structured data format, says Duke University hospitalist Ricky Bloomfield.

“This means any app ... will be able to share a CCD with the user in order to save it to HealthKit, and that any app can then get permission to read the CCD from HealthKit,” Bloomfield writes at his blog, The Mobile Doc.

“In other words, this gives a user more control over his/her medical information than ever before,” adds Bloomfield, who also serves as the hospital’s director of mobile technology strategy.

The news, announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is huge, says Bloomfield, and will drive a “new breed” of apps, empower patients and provide consumers with greater choice of what to do with health data.

It was just two years ago, at its WWDC event, that Apple debuted HealthKit, a virtual service framework fostering data sharing between patients and medical professionals, third-party devices and medical institutions. In less than a year, more than a dozen U.S. hospital HealthKit pilots were in play and more than 600 developers were integrating HealthKit into health and fitness apps.

Bloomfield also notes how CCD content is boosting the SMART and FHIR effort, as part of the Argonaut Implementation Program, and driving greater standardization of FHIR implementation.

“Ultimately, the more we can put users in control of their own health, the better of they will be. I welcome this significant step in that direction,” he writes.

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