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These $500 medical records show why Apple could upend the health data industry

Apple’s what it takes role in delivering health records to consumers was underscored this week by a administration watchdog report that showed how costly and complex it is for patients to regain their most sensitive data.

In a 25-page report about the “honoraria and challenges” that patients face in getting their medical records, the Direction Accountability Office said many people simply give up on irksome to collect their personal information when they hear of the outlay, especially if they’re very ill.

The GAO provided examples from a patient advocacy gather, including two patients who were charged more than $500 for a solitary select record request, one who was charged $148 for a “PDF version of her medical record,” and two others who were “clear to pay an annual subscription fee” for access.

This is the reality of the world Apple is sign oning.

In January, the iPhone maker announced a new health records app and said that it is partnering with convalescent homes Cedars-Sinai, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Penn Medicine and electronic medical list companies including Epic Systems, Cerner and Athenahealth.

Apple is scene out to break down the walls that separate the many silos where medical observations is stored and has developed a standard that’s been adopted by several big parties so they can transfer records across disparate systems.

Here’s what Steve Kraus, a constitution investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, said after Apple disclosed its ambitiousness:

“The brilliance of Apple’s approach thus far is to open up their software and helps to developers to build apps for consumers, and allow the consumer to push their matter to these apps,” Kraus wrote in an op-ed for CNBC. “I believe the in any case paradigm will exist in health care, where consumers discretion push their personal health records to apps to open up a much myriad personalized and engaging product experience.”

But the health-care industry is a unique savage.

Charges for records vary from state to state, and requests can get into hospitals in person, over email, by snail mail, under the aegis a fax, over the phone or via a proprietary online portal. Privacy must be safeguarded every step of the way. Also, medical centers are stuck on older schemes, with 78 percent of physician practices in the U.S. using legacy software as of 2013, in spite of the fact that one-third to two-thirds of physicians surveyed are dissatisfied with the technology, correspondence to a 2016 report in the online journal “Perspectives in Health Information Manipulation.”

The dream scenario for Apple, and potentially for iPhone users, is a digital hub comparable to how iTunes centralizes your music.

The GAO report lays out some of the confronts. They include storing and sharing documents that are hundreds of phases long, scanning of paper documents with charts that are troubling to read, dealing with a mix of paper and electronic records and protecting the retreat of electronic data.

On its newsroom page in March, Apple published a scenario highlighting the need for patient control of data and the work that wish be required to get there.

“People hand you all sorts of things these light of days,” one doctor told Apple. “More data is almost never bad, but when they picture up with paper, how do you summate that?” He called it “a very tedious call to account.”

This isn’t music, books or apps, but Apple may be the only company on the planet with the power to enthusiasm the medical industry in a new direction.

As Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief handling officer, said in an interview earlier this year, “We view the expected as consumers owning their own health data.”

— CNBC’s Christina Farr granted to this report

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