The VA has created mobile apps that enable patient portal and data access on Android smartphones to complement its Apple Health Records partnership.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is going fully mobile by offering patient data access via smartphone for both iPhone and Android users.
The VA had previously offered patient data access using Apple Health Records, a partnership made official in February 2019.
This latest move will also allow Android users to download similar patient data access apps, iBlueButton and MyLinks. The apps aim to make it easier for veterans to manage their own care and engage in healthcare goal-setting, the agency said.
“Veterans having access across the board to mobile and web health app services increases interoperability and eases the flow of information, while keeping their personal data secure,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Data security and Veteran’s consent are essential to maintaining trust and credibility with our stakeholders.”
Want to publish your own articles on DistilINFO Publications?
Send us an email, we will get in touch with you.
As noted above, VA has been in partnership with Apple Health Records for just over a year, offering patients the ability to aggregate their patient portal records and medical data gleaned from other health-related apps into a single mobile record. The partnership also allows veterans to share their records with any provider or family member of their choosing.
iBlueButton and MyLinks accomplish both of those functions for phones that do not have iOS operating systems, namely Android phones.
iBlueButton enables immediate patient data access through its connection with the My HealtheVet patient portal and Blue Button dashboard, in place since 2010. This means veterans can view their VA and Medicare data in a single location.
MyLinks enables data sharing, acting as a data exchange platform between the patient’s smartphone and clinician medical records or apps for family caregivers. MyLinks also allows veterans and family caregivers to create single family health records and manage multiple patient files at once.
Both of these apps rely on patient opt-in data sharing. Veterans must authorize apps to access veteran health information before the app can do so. Veterans can also turn off data sharing functionality whenever they need.
This push comes just over a year after VA finalized its partnership with Apple Health Records, a system deployed by healthcare organizations across the country.
The Apple Health Records tool allows users to plug in their patient portal from a participating healthcare organization, as well as patient-generated health data created from other health tools, like fitness or nutrition apps.
Patients are able to share Apple Health Records with any provider or family caregiver of their choosing.
“Our Health API represents the next stage in the evolution of VA’s patient data access capability,” Wilkie said back in February 2019. “By building upon the Veterans Health API, we’re raising the bar in collaborating with private sector organizations to create and deploy innovative digital products for Veterans. 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.”
Apple Health Records was heralded as a key improvement in healthcare’s data access problem, giving patients the opportunity to aggregate all of their medical records into a single location and share with providers. Previously, patients had to manage potentially multiple patient portals and certainly multiple data sources — data from a wearable or remote patient monitoring system, for example. The technology alleviated the problem by creating a singular record.
But there was a gaping hole in this plan: not everyone uses an iPhone, and Apple Health Records is only available over iOS devices.
For its part, Android, in partnership with Cornell, the University of California San Francisco, and The Commons Project, has begun work on a similar project modeled after Apple Health Records that would accomplish the same thing for its own users.
In September 2019, the company said the tool, dubbed CommonHealth, primarily aims to fill in the patient data access gaps left in the industry.
“Apple has shown real leadership and moved the industry forward by enabling patient access to their health information. Now CommonHealth is significantly expanding the number of people who can benefit from easy electronic access to their health records,” said JP Pollak, the CommonHealth product lead, senior researcher in residence at Cornell Tech, and assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.
This latest move from VA is another step in that direction, aiming to provide veterans with other smartphone operating systems access to a medical records app geared toward health management.
Source: Patient Engagementhit