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UNC Health Care and Apple pair up for new health app


UNC Health Care has proposed a concept plan for the Town of Chapel Hill to redevelop University-owned property along U.S. Highway 15-501, near Interstate 40 and the entrance of Chapel Hill. 

Apple announced a partnership with UNC Health Care on Jan. 24 that will allow patients to access health records on the iPhone Health app. 

The app will grant patients access to their health records through the My UNC Chart portal, a system that all UNC Health Care patients can currently use. Tracy Parham, UNC Health Care's chief information officer, said the app can also collect data from other sources, making it easier for patients to gather personal health information. 

“I think when you think about the number of people who use iPhones and have familiarity with the Health app and other tools, this will provide you not only (medical) data, but other data that you may be pulling into your Apple Health from a Fitbit, a scale system, other data that you may use to really benefit your own personal health,” Parham said. 

Though the app is still being tested, patients in the Apple Beta Software Program can use the app. 

Data on the Health app is encrypted and protected by the user's iPhone passcode. 

UNC Health Care is one of 12 health care systems, and the only system in North Carolina, testing the iOS 11.3 beta Health app. Other participating systems include Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, U.C. San Diego Health in San Diego and Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.

Apple said in a press release that they worked with the health care community to build a platform that streamlines patient health information. 

“The updated Health Records section within the Health app brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Health app to make it easy for consumers to see their available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose,” Apple stated in the press release. 

Parham said UNC Health Care wants to help patients get more involved in their health through the app.

“This is exciting because it is all about engaging patients,” Parham said. “What you want to do is have people engaged, look at their data, be able to use their data and engage in what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. The more you can get patients to do that, that’s where you’re going to really be able to improve health across patients, families and populations.”

Tom Hughes, the media relations strategist for UNC Health Care, said the app offers information that patients can use in everyday situations.

“You get a flu shot (or any other immunization) and you are required by school or an employer to show proof of your immunizations,” Hughes said in an email. “You will be able to show them that record in your iPhone Health app.”

Hughes said patients can also access items such as medication records and test results. Apple has not set a release date for the app.


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