Apple wants to make it easier for you to share your health records

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11475984) for “generation of customized personal health ontologies.” The goal is to make it easier to share your health data among different medical facilities.

About the patent

In the patent Apple notes that folks typically visit more than one health institution (e.g., medical providers) to obtain medical treatment. For example, a user may periodically visit a neighborhood clinic for annual physical evaluations and for minor medical procedures. 

The neighborhood clinic may maintain an instance of the user’s electronic health record (EHR) (e.g., a computer-stored and transferrable copy of a user’s physical health record) using an EHR system, sometimes referred to as an electronic medical record (EMR) system. When the user visits the neighborhood clinic, a medical professional may update the electronic health record (e.g., record vital signs, identify prescriptions, order and record lab results, identify a diagnosis, etc.). However, other instances of the user’s electronic health record may be maintained by other health institutions that are unaffiliated with the neighborhood clinic. These other health institutions may use different versions of the same EHR system or may even use completely different EHR systems (e.g., developed by different companies). 

FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram and a flowchart showing an example process for generating a curated health ontology and using portions of the curated health ontology to organize, store, and present health record data on user devices, according to at least one example.

Tis means instances of the user’s electronic health record may be distributed among multiple health institutions. And, depending on which type and version of EHR systems used by the health institutions as well as provider preferences for recording health record data, health record data within each instance may be formatted, coded, and/or stored differently.

With its increasing focus on health and fitness, as shown by iPhone and Apple Watch features, Apple wants to make it easier for users to more easily share their medical records.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A user device may use a curated health sub-ontology to index a user’s health record data sourced from multiple electronic health record (EHR) systems. As part of indexing the health record data, the user device may create a personal health ontology that is specific to the user’s health record data.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.