Apple, Microsoft and Google to test new standard for patient access to digital health data

A newly released data model and draft implementation guide for providing digital access to historical health insurance claims data directly to patients could mean you have better access to this info from the devices you use everyday. Called the CARIN Blue Button API, it’s a new model developed by private sector partners including consumer organizations, insurance providers, digital health app developers and more, this new draft implementation will be in testing beginning this year, with participating companies including a number of different state-specific BlueCross/BlueShield providers, the State of Washington – and Apple, Google and Microsoft.

The news was announced today at the White House Blue Button Developers Conference in Washington D.C., and builds on the work done last year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch Blue Button 2.0, a new standard aimed at providing Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. access to all of their historical claims information in one place from whatever application they choose to use.

All of the organizations participating in the draft testing process will perform “real-world testing” of the CARIN model developed by the multi-disciplinary working group, with the aim of preparing for a broad, product launch of the data standard in 2020.

Seeing Apple, Google and Microsoft on that list along with a significant number of health care providers is a good sign, since it should mean more data portability and choice when it comes to how you access your own patient information, rather than it being decided on a platform-by-platform basis.

Apple already built a Health Records section into its own native Health app in iOS at the beginning of last year, and while it works with standards sometimes adopted by health care providers, it’s far from a universal, truly interoperable health care history feature on its own. Apple has been building partnerships with agencies and providers including Veterans’ Affairs and Aetna to flesh out its personal health data offering for users, and Microsoft has its own health records offering called HealthVault.

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