Mayo Clinic Releases Free Health App for iOS Devices

Capabilities give the user the ability to contact their care team directly through secure messaging and view and manage details of their appointment.

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The Mayo Clinic announced the launch of the Mayo Clinic app, available as a free download from Apple's App Store. The app integrates with Apple Health, providing users a current overview of their health and fitness data.

Mayo Clinic's flagship mobile app, which will replace the current patient app, was first announced during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Created in collaboration with Apple and in consultation with Mayo Clinic patients, the Mayo Clinic app offers improved features to help patients, including the ability to view select Mayo Clinic health data through the Apple Health dashboard and find health information more quickly.

"Mayo Clinic released this app to continue to reach out to patients in new and innovative ways. These types of solutions allow Mayo Clinic to have on ongoing relationship with patients, not just during intermittent face-face visits," John Wald, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic public affairs and marketing, told eWEEK. "The next version of the Mayo Clinic app will begin to reach out to health consumers--not limited to Mayo Clinic patients--around the world to allow them to obtain Mayo Clinic information, guidance and, when needed, care."

Apple’s Health application is intended to be a personal and central data collection point for connected third-party electronic accessories and wearable technology that can directly monitor and analyze an individual's biochemistry and physiology for medical and general fitness purposes.

Other capabilities give the user the ability to contact their care team directly through secure messaging, view and manage details of their appointment schedule and view Mayo Clinic videos on their iPhone, iPod and iPad.

Future updates to the app will include disease and condition management, and personalized feedback tailored for users. The organization also noted it would continue to support and update the Mayo Clinic app on Android platforms.

App users have full control of their personal health information, and can decide what, if any, data is stored in the Apple Health app.

"Privacy and security of health information is very important to patients and it is equally important to Mayo Clinic. We have built our reputation on our trusted relationship with patients. When patients sign up for the Mayo Clinic app, they are walked through a privacy statement and a HIPPA form which define the importance of health data security," Wald explained. "Data contained within Apple Health is stored on the individual's device. Once the data is on the individual's device, and protected by security measures in place on the device."

To make the data-sharing process easier, Mayo has also developed an easy-to-understand privacy statement.

"This Mayo Clinic app will allow consumers to gain greater insights into the health information and data they are storing in Apple Health. Data simply remains data, if it is not linked to information and guidance," Wald said. "Once a patient begins to understand what their health data means, they can begin to make informed health decisions that can improve their health and lifestyle."

Wald noted they are currently developing a consumer arm for the Mayo Clinic app, which will link Apple Health data to Mayo Clinic information, guidance and care, and the organization hopes to release this version of the app in the first quarter of 2015.