The mobile health monitoring space is a staggering USD 9 billion as of today, and is only getting bigger. Wearable technology will make the process of health data collection simpler, and empower a large user base. Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike, Withings are some of the names which have made it big in the wearable devices space. The Apple Watch, the new entrant in this space, will connect with the Apple health app to store the data and have it available for analysis for the user and might prove to be a solution for meaningful online patient – physician interactions
Apple and EPIC
Apple’s collaboration with Epic, the EMR which covers the vast majority of US patient data, will be instrumental in pushing patient vitals on to their EMR and making it available to physicians on a periodic basis. MyChart, the app from Epic helps patients communicate with the physicial, views test/lab results and schedule appointments. The test data coupled with the vital statistics which is available form wearable devices will help to bring about a better health understanding. Wearable devices have sensors such as a gyroscope to count steps, GPS to track distance etc. The Apple Watch also comes with infrared, visible-light LEDs, and photosensors to detect your pulse and other vitals. The data collection, integration and healthcare assistance triangle can be successful when there is a secure means to analyze and store the collected user health data in accordance with HIPAA.
How is this health data being stored? And stored securely?
HIPAA protects personally-identifiable health information – like medical reports, hospital bills stored or transmitted by a “covered entity,” like a care provider or health plan. But, information generated from a mobile app, has to be protected once the data is given to a covered entity or its agent. So, having the data within an EMR such as EPIC is the best way to ensure better usability for the collected data.
There are many healthcare systems which use EPIC, and now they will be able to integrate vital information from EPIC MyChart into the EMR. And on the other end, all mobile apps which will employ HealthKit will be able to connect to EPIC MyChart and store data in a HIPAA compliant manner with the EPIC EMR.
HIPAA compliance is only one aspect which is being solved by the use of EPIC by Apple Healthkit. The use of all the collected data is when it can be analyzed alongside clinical data for each user. This will in turn change the outlook of physicians and bring about more credibility to the data. This will in turn sell health and pull users to use apps which are connected to the EMR of their choice.
On the other hand, many EMR systems are not equipped with the capability to assimilate data from different sources and analyze them, and also many lack the user interface to show this data for physician consumption. EPIC, the chosen EMR by Apple, has a MyChart app which already has a link with the EMR to feed information to it. This will prove to be a very important feature especially for those wearable devices which will be connecting to other platforms such as Android and Windows.
If wearable devices need to take off, the main priority will be to get the EMRs ready to accept the incoming data and also build a HIPAA compliant system to transfer the information to the EMRs.
How can we help
At Nalashaa, we have developed expertise in building mobile solutions and adding to that our experience in healthcare helps us to understand the problem while dealing with highly sensitive data, on the cloud and on-premise. We are proficient in working with HIPAA compliant systems and excel at building certified EMR systems.
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