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Apple-backed health data sharing rule faces backlash from US hospitals


Apple has been excited to use more technology in the medical field for a long time. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services (the HHS) is proposing a new rule which would allow trouble-free access to medical records by patients and will provide patients with the possibility to easily share their data with applications they prefer. The rule is set to facilitate health information exchange and make it easier for everyday consumers to gain access to their data and to use it, as well as to help them with sharing it when changing doctors and health systems. At some places, according to CNBC, health information is still shared via CD-ROM or fax.

On the other side, opposing the rule, stands Epic Systems, one of the largest medical record providers in the US. The company bases its disapproval on the fact that such rule will lead to patients’ medical privacy being endangered and impose difficulty for hospitals to comply with the given timeline, costs and penalties. Now 60 hospitals have signed a complaint letter taking a stance against the proposed rule, underlining some areas in need of improvement or clarification.

However, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, expressed his excitement for technology interoperability with medicine last month in an interview in Dublin, when Apple was awarded the Special Recognition Award for the company’s contribution to FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in Ireland. The company’s interest in health care is nothing new - Apple Watch can monitor heart rate, while Apple’s Health app is one big hub for health-related features. Cook has stated that the more we are able to find areas that technology can intersect health care, the better.

According to CNBC, Microsoft has also taken Apple’s position on the issue, against Epic Systems’ CEO Judy Faulkner, who has urged hospitals to sign the opposing letter to voice disapproval for the proposed rule by the HHS.


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