When was the last time you didn’t Google your symptoms?

Consumer expectations around fast, real-time, at-our-fingertips access to information continues to rise. The instant accessibility of the internet in our pockets has complicated an already challenging industry—healthcare.

While Dr. Google might not always be the best route to diagnosis, what’s a consumer to do? We may seek out a physician, a virtual care appointment, a quick trip to urgent care—or a combination of options to find a solution that meets your needs and fits into your schedule. But what happens to your data after the visit and lab results?

Manage your data to manage your health

The technology industry, however, is on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we manage our health, and it starts with how we manage our data.

Apple is leading the way through Health Records and a corresponding API for developers and researchers to take part in changing the way consumers, as patients, manage their medications, nutrition, illnesses and diagnosed diseases. In turn, patients will have access to their medical records from multiple healthcare delivery systems and can share that information with their favorite apps to help improve their overall health.

Consider this: How many different accounts do you have across various healthcare systems?

You may have one primary care clinic log-in, one specialty clinic log-in and a separate account with a pharmacy to manage prescriptions. Then, combine your data with the data from your dependent children, partner and aging parents, and you’re looking at an overwhelming amount of information scattered across a sea of 10-digit passwords.

As these tools continue to advance, their potential to positively—and proactively—impact our health continues to grow. The first step is becoming comfortable with the idea of collecting and sharing very personal health information. Take James Green, for example. He credits his Apple Watch with alerting him of a spike in his heart rate that turned out to be a pulmonary embolism. His outcome might have been very different had he not been wearing a smart watch.

Consumers and patients are demanding ownership of their data. At the same time, brands must consider how to pivot their use of consumer information. Sure, consumer data can help market a product, but when organizations shift to using data to drive purpose-driven innovation—that’s when everyone rises.

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