Healthcare Business News

IBM-Apple partnership could have big health IT impact

By Darius Tahir
Posted: July 22, 2014 - 2:00 pm ET

IBM's plan to partner with Apple could prove significant for healthcare, addressing issues of data security that have stood in the way of the expansion of mobile healthcare usage and development.

The partnership announced last week “does deliver on the promise of being able to connect the healthcare systems to the patient, to the consumer, in a new way,” Dan Pelino, IBM's general manager of the public sector, said in an interview.

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The deal calls for IBM to build a suite of platforms and apps that would allow for healthcare data to be securely and safely transported to clinics and EHRs using Apple phone and iPads. IBM will market Apple devices to its clients.

“The applications today have been developed singularly,” Pelino said. “And many of the applications on population health, such as Fitbit and others, are just integrated into the phone but not into your actual medical record and your care management.”

Once that data is integrated, from Apple device to healthcare record, the providers can manipulate it in a number of ways, such as upgraded alerts and monitoring systems. Alerts under the collaboration would “get much easier in a secure and safe environment,” he said.

Another important element of the plan is Apple's partnership with Epic Systems Corp., which has resulted in the MyChart app being released to the public. The app is basic at the moment, Pelino said, but “you can see, if you can look underneath MyChart, how you can build out additional applications and touch points off of that portal in a safe, secure way with IBM.”

Follow Darius Tahir on Twitter: @dariustahir

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