Do Apple's recent hospital deals signal industry shakeup ahead?

Obama-era officials David Blumenthal and Aneesh Chopra say yes.
By Bernie Monegain
01:39 PM
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In a recent opinion piece published by the Harvard Business Review, David Blumenthal, MD, who served as the National Coordinator for Health IT from 2009 to April 2011, writes that Apple's recent pacts with big-name healthcare systems might indeed be poised to disrupt the healthcare industry.

Blumenthal co-authored the piece with former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and both contend the pact has not gotten the attention it deserves.

[Also: Apple to launch Health Records app with HL7's FHIR specifications at 12 hospitals]

Apple's healthcare move "could herald truly disruptive change in the U.S. healthcare system," Blumenthal and Chopra write. How? "It could liberate healthcare data for game-changing new uses, including empowering patients as never before."

The idea is to give patients easier access to their own data.

They note the inability to make electronic data more liquid persists, which hinders efforts to follow the patient throughout the health system and stymies more sophisticated analytics – goals they see as critical to better patient care and research.

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

And they hail the collaboration among providers of health and information technology services. They see the Apple-hospital agreement as a new era in health and medicine. They applaud the partnership. As they see it, the results will not likely solve all healthcare problems. But they believe the new deal could disrupt the industry.

"These problems notwithstanding, the announcement of this collaboration between leading American providers of health and information technology services likely signals a new era in health and medicine," they write.

The collaborating hospitals are:

  • Cedars-Sinai - Los Angeles
  • Penn Medicine - Philadelphia
  • Geisinger Health System - Danville, Pennsylvania
  • UC San Diego Health - San Diego
  • UNC Health Care - Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Rush University Medical Center - Chicago
  • Dignity Health - Arizona, California and Nevada
  • Ochsner Health System - Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  • MedStar Health -  Washington, D.C.
  • OhioHealth - Columbus, Ohio
  • Cerner Healthe Clinic - Kansas City, Missouri

The Apple-hospital partnership "will not solve all our healthcare problems," Blumenthal and Chopra write. "But they could really shake things up. And that is what the U.S. health system needs."

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