Consumers who choose to make their encrypted data available to third-party apps, will share that information with developers working on tools like medication tracking, disease management, nutrition planning and medical research. Any data that's shared will require a user's permission and does not flow through Apple's servers, the company said.
At Apple's annual developer show, WWDC, the company highlighted some uses of health and fitness technology on stage. But the details surrounding the new use of medical records were only shared through a post on the company's newsroom site.
The announcement is a followup to the introduction of a health records offering, which Apple unveiled in January, letting consumers turn their iPhone into a storage bank of medical information, including medication and lab tests. That's all part of an Apple product called HealthKit.
"With the potential of health records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, in the statement.
Health data has long been challenging for patients to access because it's typically scattered across various medical institutions on a host of different proprietary systems. Developers also struggle to incorporate this information into their apps, as it tends to be expensive and time-consuming to connect with all the relevant providers and health records vendors.