Apple, Microsoft and Google to test new standard for patient access to digital health data

A newly released data model and draft implementation guide for providing directly to patients digital access to historical health insurance claims data could mean you have better access to this info from the devices you use everyday. Called the CARIN Blue Button API, it’s a new model developed by private sector partners, including consumer organizations, insurance providers, digital health app developers and more. This new draft implementation will be in testing with participating companies beginning this year, including a number of different state-specific BlueCross/BlueShield providers, the State of Washington — and Apple, Google and Microsoft.

The news was announced today at the White House Blue Button Developers Conference in Washington D.C., and builds on the work done last year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch Blue Button 2.0, a new standard aimed at providing Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. access to all of their historical claims information in one place from whichever application they choose to use.

All of the organizations participating in the draft testing process will perform “real-world testing” of the CARIN model developed by the multi-disciplinary working group, with the aim of preparing for a broad product launch of the data standard in 2020.

Seeing Apple, Google and Microsoft on that list along with a significant number of healthcare providers is a good sign; it should mean more data portability and choice when it comes to how you access your own patient information, rather than it being decided on a platform-by-platform basis.

Apple already built a Health Records section into its own native Health app in iOS at the beginning of last year, and while it works with standards sometimes adopted by healthcare providers, it’s far from a universal, truly interoperable healthcare history feature on its own. Apple has been building partnerships with agencies and providers, including Veterans’ Affairs and Aetna, to flesh out its personal health data offering for users, and Microsoft has its own health records offering called HealthVault.