Yesterday, Apple announced consumers will have the option to download and store their health records directly in Apple’s Health app on their iPhones beginning today. The new feature is still in the beta phase, but already about a dozen health systems have jumped on board, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai and Penn Medicine, as well as two of the largest medical-health record providers in the U.S., Epic Systems Corp. and Cerner Corp.

This is good news for patients. According to research firm McKinsey, 70 percent of patients  aged 18-65 are interested in digitally monitoring their health data. This is further evidenced by the influx of health and fitness apps and the evolution of the telehealth industry that we’ve witnessed over the last several years.

Apple isn’t the only company providing mobile access to health records. There are certainly competitors already in market, including Microsoft’s HealthVault, iBlueButton, Capzule PHR and My Medical. This competition isn’t a bad thing – it allows patients to choose their preferred experience. And the underlying goal of all of these apps is to empower patients with more information about their health – putting them in control of their own data.

Apple’s Health app already consolidates health data from across various mobile applications active on a users’ iPhone and gathers its own data, including counting your steps. Adding the ability to store health records within the same platform further streamlines user access to all health information.

So why is this news exciting for health care providers?

Access to data puts patients in charge of their own health and empowers them to make healthier decisions.

Access to data puts patients in charge of their own health and empowers them to make healthier decisions.Click To Tweet

As patients pay closer attention to their health, they also communicate more clearly with their providers about their concerns, health status and needs, leading to more meaningful and productive patient-provider interactions. Mobile access to health data makes transfer of health information to new providers quick and easy- particularly if a patient is switching providers or traveling.

Mobile access to health data also makes transfer of health information to new providers quick and easy - particularly if a patient is switching providers or traveling.Click To Tweet

In addition to improving relationships with patients and positively impacting patient health, Accenture research has also found that hospitals providing superior patient experience tend to have 50 percent higher margins compared to their peers. Increased patient demand for mobile accessibility and digital communication with providers  means that smart health care communicators will need to integrate these channels into their marketing mix to be successful now and in the future.

Considering how you might amp up your digital patient communications? Check out our previous Buzz Bin post featuring Padilla’s director of digital growth, Joel Erb, for more insights and intel.

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