SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. hi-tech giant Apple unveiled Wednesday a new feature for its iPhone to allow iPhone users to check their medical records on their devices.
Apple said in a statement Wednesday that it "introduced a significant update to the Health app with the iOS 11.3 beta," which gives iPhone users access to their clinical data such as cholesterol levels and lists of medications prescribed by their doctors directly from hospitals or clinics.
The first group of medical institutions that agreed to open their clinical data to customers include Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, Penn Medicine in Philadelpia in Pennsylvania, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles of California.
In the past, patients' medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log into each care provider's website and piece together the information manually, Apple said.
It said the new iPhone feature puts together customers' medical information from various institutions on the basis of the protocol of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), a standard for transferring electronic medical records.
All the medical data of the customers will be encrypted and stored locally on the iPhone, unless the user chooses to share it with the company, Apple said.
"Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We've worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years -- to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer.
Apple has recently shown greater ambition to expand its presence in the lucrative digital health market by adding a series of new features to its digital products such as Apple Watch.
Last year, the U.S. hi-tech leader announced partnership with the U.S. Stanford University to use an app on the Apple Watch to detect irregular heart rhythms of Apple users.