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Beyond the Hype: Can Apple, Others Bring PGHD to the EMR?

March 26, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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Not settled with simply being the dominant device on which clinical data applications are hosted, Apple made another step towards becoming an even more ubiquitous presence at healthcare organizations last week when it launched ResearchKit.

ResearchKit is a platform that allows healthcare organizations to host apps that will get people to participate in clinical trials. During an event for the press, the company announced a few initial partnerships with major healthcare provider organizations to use ResearchKit, including Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Penn Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Hospital, and more.

ResearchKit builds off HealthKit, which was a health platform Apple launched last year that aimed to connect personally-generated health data and clinical data. Since HealthKit’s launch, many notable healthcare organizations, including Stanford Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, and EHR vendors like Epic, have all partnered with Apple to work in their own patient-generated data applications.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is part of a wider movement in the industry to bring patient-generated health data (PGHD), from various portals and monitoring devices, into clinical data applications like the electronic medical record (EMR). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), in its proposed rule for Stage 3 of meaningful use, made integrating PGHD into the EHR a requirement for eligible hospitals and providers.

Of course, this integration is easier said than done. Healthcare Informatics Senior Editor Gabriel Perna spoke with Rob Faix, principal advisor at the Naperville, Ill.-based consulting firm, Impact Advisors on the most recent edition of the Healthcare Informatics podcast. Faix discusses the challenges of bringing together patient and clinical data; why Apple has taken the lead in this category with many prominent healthcare organizations; and how ResearchKit can be a game changer.

“Integrating this data will be a significant challenge but I think it’s one that hardware device vendors, software developers, and EMR vendors are up for…it’s the next big opportunity,” Faix says. “

Faix talks about how this integration may happen. He predicts there will be a staging process, where PGHD is graded and reviewed. “Context will be important. The software and EMR vendors and the clinical community are really going have to think about that as we integrate PGHD into the EMR,” he says.

Sifting through a potential avalanche of data will present itself as a challenge, as will having to deal with potential issues of liability. “I have information in front of me that I chose to accept or discard, and therefore, it could be tied back to an adverse event,” Faix says.


For more from Rob Faix, listen below.

To download this or other HCI Podcasts from iTunes, click here.