Cerner, athenahealth to work with Apple

Both are planning HealthKit deployments in clinical settings
By Mike Miliard
11:03 AM

Epic won't be the only electronic health record company to leverage Apple's HealthKit technology: Cerner and athenahealth are the latest EHR vendors to say they'll develop apps that interface with the platform.

[See also: Apple-Epic collaboration hits snag]

Both Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner and Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth are working with Apple to develop patient-facing tools that will make use of data aggregated via HealthKit, Reuters reports.

It was announced this past week that HealthKit's rollout will be delayed a few weeks as Apple addresses some bugs discovered in the 11th hour before its scheduled debut with the rest of iOS 8. When it's eventually released to the public, the plan is to put the platform to work in spurring wellness activities and keeping tabs on chronic conditions.

[See also: Apple strides into healthcare]

By accruing data from consumer apps such as Fitbit – as well as with more clinically-focused data tracking, such as blood pressure and glucose monitoring – the hope is that HealthKit will offer a holistic view of its users' health.

EHR vendors such as Epic – and now Cerner and athenahealth – are working on iPhone apps that will enable patient to integrate this data with their health records.

Abbe Don, vice president of user experience at athenahealth's mobility subsidiary Epocrates, told Reuters that the cloud-based EHR company will test a "proof of concept" app with its client Hudson Headwaters Health Network: "There is an awful lot we can do with HealthKit," she said.

Meanwhile, Cerner Senior Director Brian Carter, who focuses on personal and population health, said the plan is for clinical caregivers to access data from HealthKit, with patients' consent, via Cerner technology. The first step will be focused on "smaller organizations," he told Reuters, with an eye toward proving HealthKit's value in managing chronic conditions.

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