Is Apple poised to enter EHR market? New patents have the industry buzzing

Apple is not the lone tech giant showing an interest in healthcare: Amazon, too, has kept a close eye on the market.
By Bernie Monegain
01:09 PM
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Is Apple poised to enter EHR market?

A new wave of speculation from industry analysts is putting Apple in the spotlight over its supposed plans for creating a new sort of EHR – the soul of a new device, so to speak.

The new speculation is fueled by the patents Apple has recently secured. 

[Also: Apple reveals plans to put health records on the iPhone]

Analysts reason that Apple may be poised to enter the mobile healthcare monitoring device, EHR, and healthcare data storage markets.

Healthcare IT News reported in June that Apple was working to put health records on the iPhone, where iPhone users could easily access their medical records, including lab results, medical tests, appointments and other healthcare records in one place.

The more recent efforts appear to go beyond healthcare records, however.

[Also: Timeline: How Apple is piecing together its secret healthcare plan]

Patent US 9723997 B, obtained by Apple back in August, for example, is an electronic device that computes health data of the user based upon sensor data regarding the received light.

In some implementations, the electronic device may also include one or more electrical contacts that contact one or more body parts of the user.

[Also: Could Amazon or Apple actually make a dent in the EHR market?]

As described in the patent, “in such implementations, the health data may be further computed based on the electrical measurement obtained using the electrical contacts.

According to the patent description: “'Electrical measurements may be used to measure heart function, compute an electrocardiogram, compute a galvanic skin response that may be indicative of emotional state and/or other physiological condition, and/or compute other health data such as body fat, or blood pressure.”

[Also: Decide for yourself: Will Apple and Amazon enter the EHR market?]

Apple is not the lone tech giant showing an interest in healthcare. Amazon, too, has kept a close eye on the market.

Back in July, Amazon started a secret lab at its Seattle headquarters to explore business prospects in the healthcare sector, including EHRs and telemedicine. At the time Amazon was reportedly considering developing an EHR platform as well as telemedicine and health apps for existing devices, such as its Echo smart speakers, which connect to a personal assistant, called Alexa. It dubbed the project “1492,” the year Columbus first landed in the Americas.

Later, it appeared that Amazon was looking into ways to break into the pharmaceutical sector.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com