Healthcare researchers and software developers on Friday launched CommonHealth, an app designed to help Android users consolidate their health records from multiple providers.
The project, operated by not-for-profit the Commons Project and developed with a half-dozen other organizations, was unveiled last year response to Apple’s health records feature, a project Apple kicked off in early 2018 to allow patients to download medical data from their health records into the iPhone’s Health app. Apple’s Health app is only available to iPhone users.
In the nearly three years since, more than 500 organizations—including hospitals, clinics and laboratories—have signed on to make health records available through Apple’s app project.
The CommonHealth app, which is neither operated nor developed by Google, is designed to expand upon that vision.
“CommonHealth extends the privacy-centered data portability and interoperability model pioneered by Apple Health,” said JP Pollak, co-founder and chief architect at the Commons Project, in a statement.
Fifty-two percent of smartphone users in the U.S. run on Google’s Android operating system, according to market research firm Statista. Apple’s iOS accounts for 47%.
The CommonHealth app as of Friday has connected to 230 health systems, as well as clinical laboratory network LabCorp, after piloting it at UCSF Health, one of the project’s early collaborators. Patients at participating organizations can download the app for free to download information—including lab tests and vaccinations—from their health records into a central hub.
An additional 110 health systems plan to integrate with the CommonHealth app this month, bringing its total connected organizations to 340 by the end of 2020.
The Commons Project worked with University of California, San Francisco; Cornell Tech; interoperability collaborative CARIN Alliance; and not-for-profit Sage Bionetworks to develop the app, which uses application programming interfaces to link a provider’s electronic health record system with the CommonHealth app.
The app’s developers suggested its data-sharing functionality could prove useful for meeting provisions of HHS’ interoperability and information-blocking rules, which require healthcare providers and insurers to adopt standard APIs to more easily share data with patients and one another.
Dr. Don Rucker, who leads HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, has highlighted Apple’s health records project as an example of how software developers can leverage APIs to connect patients with their health information.
While sharing data via apps and APIs sounds appealing, apps that link up to EHRs today largely haven’t caught on with patients. That may be because most of the apps available to download, while convenient for viewing data, don’t yet do much beyond that.
The CommonHealth app’s developers envision the program as a way for patients to centralize their health records and to share their data with third-party apps that play other roles in managing care.
“CommonHealth offers the ability to advance and improve care while giving patients the tools they need to be an active participant in their own care,” said Dr. Ida Sim, a professor of medicine and co-director of informatics and research innovation at UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, in a statement.