There were two huge Digital Health stories in the past few weeks.

Apple Health Records

First we were introduced to Apple Health Records. The new feature will allow consumers to download their health records from participating providers directly to their iPhone. Some industry observers see it as a huge step forward in the liberation of our health data and the transformation of the healthcare industry. Others see it as little more than a publicity stunt that’ll ultimately end up in history’s innovation waste basket next to Google Health.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan

Just a few days later we were told that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan had teamed up and plan to disrupt healthcare. Once again, we split ourselves into two groups. The first sees this as a sign that American businesses are finally stepping up and taking responsibility for the devastating growth in healthcare spending. They hope these titans can figure it out and set the course for the rest of the nation. The second camp says this move is intended to drive down healthcare costs for these 3 companies alone and stands little chance of impacting anyone else.

The Apple Health Records deliverable is simple and clear: move data from participating health systems to iPhones via SMART on FHIR for view-only use.

The Amazon, Berkshire, JP plan is almost completely unknown – they’ve simply said their working together to make healthcare work better.

The question is, will either of them matter in the long run?

On this episode, we break both stories down and talk about what they’re promising, what they’re not and what we can expect in the coming years. Key questions and topics include:

Apple Health Records

  • Should we doubt that big tech companies can have a positive impact in healthcare just because a few have tried and failed?
  • What are Apple Health Records really intended for and why?
  • Will Apple Health records matter to the future of healthcare?
  • What’s different today than when Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault launched 10 years ago?
  • What’s the difference in general between Apple Health Records and past Personal Health Record (PHR) plays?
  • Does the fact that Apple Health Records will use industry standards like SMART on FHIR, CCD, CDA, etc. make it any more likely to succeed? What does that selection mean for the industry?
  • Now that Apple has created a platform that enables patients to aggregate their own data, will anyone care? That is, will they create enough demand (from app developers) for the supply of personally aggregated data?
  • Personally aggregated healthcare data without apps to make it useful is like having a whole bunch of map data with no GPS.
  • Is there any relation between Apple Health Record’s goals and the goals of the recently released ONC Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA)?
  • Does Apple Health Records “HIE of 1” enable or support population health in any way?

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan

  • What do we think this deal means? Will these organizations simply work as a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)? If so, how will it be better than all the existing GPOs?
  • Or will it be something new altogether?
  • How might this partnership influence changes in the healthcare market beyond just these 3 companies?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a line twitter.

~ Don Lee

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