Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the United States, serving just around 9 million patients. It has also been a leader in healthcare innovation through initiatives like the Kaiser Permanente Information Technology’s Innovation & Advanced Technology Group and Laboratory for Innovation.

Kaiser has now released a mobile portal for patients to access their medical records – medication lists, lab results, and more. Interestingly though, they have released a native Android app only. For iOS, Blackberry, and Windows users, there is instead a web-app.

Through either the web-app or Android native app, patients can now access their medical information from virtually anywhere. The app provides full access to patient information that currently resides on the KP health record system and certainly demonstrates the growing movement to empower patients. In addition though, the release of the Android app first may also reveal a surprising shift in the mobile development landscape.

Patients who want to access their medical information on their iPhone are instructed that they can download a shortcut from the kp.org website that will open up the mobile friendly version of the website. From there, they can access all their medical information.

With the new native and web app, KP patients will have 24/7 access to lab results, diagnostic information, direct and secure email access to their doctors, and will also be able to order prescription refills.  In fact, in 2011, more then 68 million lab results were made available through the website to patients.  All this can be accessed through the dedicated Android app and the mobile website.

“With the new offering, Kaiser Permanente patients have 24/7 access from their mobile devices to view their secure personal health record, email their doctors, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and locate Kaiser Permanente medical facilities. Members who have the ability to act on behalf of a family member on kp.org now can accomplish the same tasks. Those caring for an elderly parent or someone with a chronic condition can now more easily check lab results, refill prescriptions and communicate with the doctor’s office on behalf of the patient.”

George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, explains the release of these new mobile offerings.

“This is the future of healthcare. Healthcare needs to be connected to be all that it can be. This new level of connectivity is happening real time, and it is happening on a larger scale than anything like it in the world. The fact that a Kaiser Permanente patient in an emergency room in Paris or Tokyo can simply pull out their mobile device and have immediate and current access to their own medical information is an evolutionary and revolutionary breakthrough for medical connectivity.”

Interestingly, this is one of the few times we have seen an Android release precede the iOS release. Developers, in the past, have often cited issues with cross-device compatibility, a smaller market, and security issues. In many ways, things have changed – there are now far more Android users than in the past for example. iOS challenges, such as the cumbersome approval process and constrained development parameters, haven’t changed much. With Kaiser releasing this app first on Android, we certainly wonder whether the development environment is changing.

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