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Apple Is Opening Health Records API to Developers

On the same day as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Keynote, the tech conglomerate announced on its website that it opened its Health Records application programming interface (API) to developers.

Earlier this year, Apple introduced Health Records, which in partnership with more than 500 hospitals and clinics and using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, was able to bring patients encrypted health data from multiple health care providers directly to their phones.

Sharing the Health Records API — or set of protocols that helps software communicate — will allow developers to build third-party apps that interact with Health Records.

In turn, if users opt in, they’ll be able to sharing their health records with a trusted third-party app that may track a patient’s diabetes, medication schedule (with refill reminders), or nutrition requirements. An “ecosystem” of apps should be available in the fall, according to Apple’s announcement.

“With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

In terms of security, Apple’s Health Records are encrypted on the user’s iPhone and are passcode protected. Users must also affirmatively opt in to sharing records with a third-party app, and the Health Records are never transferred to an Apple server, but rather flow directly from the phone to a third party app.