Apple wants to help you find the medical provider you need. The company has filed for a patent (number US 20230289387 A1) for “techniques for anonymized searching of medical providers.
About the patent filing
In the patent Apple notes that users typically visit more than one health institution to obtain medical treatment. For example, a user may periodically visit a neighborhood clinic for annual physical evaluations and for minor medical procedures. An electronic health record (EHR) is a computer-stored and transferrable copy of a user’s physical health record.
The neighborhood clinic may maintain an instance of the user’s electronic health record (e.g., using an EHR system, sometimes referred to as an electronic medical record (EMR) system). When the user visits, a medical professional may update the electronic health record.
However, Apple notes that different instances of the user’s electronic health record may be maintained by other health institutions that are unaffiliated with the neighborhood clinic. For example, the user may have visited a surgical center for a surgery, been transported to an emergency room in connection with an accident, or may have visited a different clinic while on vacation in a different city.
Each of the surgical center, the emergency room, and the different clinic, may have created an instance of the user’s electronic health record, which may be maintained using different EHR systems. The EHR systems may provide patient portals for accessing health records on their systems.
Because these portals are built and maintained by different organizations, accessing each by the user may require a unique set of user credentials. And once the user logs in to a particular portal, she is still limited by what portion of her electronic health record will be available for viewing.
Existing computer systems may be able to maintain a single connection to a single EHR system, but challenges may arise when these systems attempt to programmatically maintain multiple connections across multiple EHR systems. What’s more, Apple says that because different medical professionals contribute to the instances of the electronic health record, data inconsistencies may exist between electronic health records sourced from different EHR systems.
Conventional data rectification techniques may prove insufficient to resolve these types of data inconsistencies. However, Apple wants to do just that.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A user device can be used to generate medical term expressions, which represent medical terms of a health record. The user device can identify a medical concept present in the health record based on a medical term expression. The user device can generate a node in a personalized relational graph that corresponds to the medical concept. One or more sub-nodes can be added to the node. Responsive to a request, a user interface is presented that identifies the medical concept and some of the additional information.”