Apple’s Patent-Pending Invention Highlights Work on Telehealth

Apple has applied for a patent that signals its intention to move into the telemedicine sphere, according to Patently Apple.

The invention, described in a patent application published in July by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, consists of methods for facilitating the communication of health information between patient and physician via portable electronic devices, in order to enable diagnosis and treatment of a patient. In short, the patent is for a platform that supports telemedicine consults, taking advantage of the telemedicine potential in HealthKit.

The patent application, submitted in the fourth quarter of 2015, describes a patient-initiated platform in which, once the patient’s device (such as a mobile phone) connects with a physician’s device (such as a tablet), the physician’s user interface can populate known data fields with that patient’s information via access to his Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

The physician can then request certain types of potentially available health information, including sensor data, from the patient’s device. The patient authorizes the release of some subset of the data requested, initiating the transfer of data to the physician’s device.

An interesting privacy feature of the platform is that the physician does not know whether information requested but not received from the patient’s device is a) not present on the device or b) not authorized for release by the patient.

The telemedicine platform permits the use of third-party applications as extensions providing semi-automated analysis of the health data. It also allows for the provision of clinical decision support on the physician’s device via third-party applications. “Such applications may readily provide clinical guidelines, condition-specific order sets, focused patient data reports and summaries, drug-drug interactions, diagnostic support, and contextually relevant reference information,” Patently Apple reports.

Click here to read more about Apple’s recent patent application.

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