Drchrono is Bringing Electronic Health Records to the Apple Watch

Drchrono’s app for patients shown on the Apple Watch.

It wasn’t very long ago that the idea of digitizing a patient’s long and complex medical history—which involves throwing together a hodge-podge of different kinds of data—seemed like a pipe dream.

But just five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, not only are health records digital, they can now be worn on the body by doctors and patients like a fashion accessory.

This is because startup technology company drchrono Inc., which has made electronic health records available for the iPhone and the iPad, is migrating its product to the new announced Apple Watch.

“Just picture a doctor coming down the hallway with his arms full of paper files and devices, who is not really able to engage with anyone,” said drchrono Chief Executive Michael Nusimow. “Now picture that doctor with his hands free, because a lot his necessary data] is on his wrist. The wearable health record has become a reality.”

Obviously, a physician is not going to be pulling up X-rays and analyzing PET scans on the small screen offered by a wristwatch. But that’s not the point, company founders said.

As the screen size shrinks when one goes from the iPad to the iPhone to the watch, so does the range of different functions on drchrono’s app, to some extent.

Doctors wanting to input information on a health record by Drchrono will likely use the iPad, whereas perusing medical information can just as easily be done on a smartphone. A watch might not work well for entering or reading data, but is the perfect device to send a reminder to a physician that his or her next patient is waiting, Mr. Nusimow said.

The value, Mr. Nusimow said, is that health-record apps on all three devices sych up together, all link to Apple’s Health Kit data repository, and all contribute to a patient’s ongoing health narrative as told by their electronic health record.

No single mobile device needs to be all things to all people, if they all work together and interact with cloud-based health records, the company says.

A separate application for patients, called OnPatient, will offer a range of tools for managing health on a daily basis, from offering reminders of upcoming appointments to messaging with health professionals to paying bills, Mr. Nusimow said.

Mountain View, Calif.-based drchrono has always been the most mobile of electronic health records, working closely with Apple as Apple unveils new mobile devices.

The company has been backed with about $8 million from Yuri Milner, Runa Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Falls River Ventures.

Drchrono offers electronic health records for free, and monetizes its business by charging doctors for medical-billing services.

Mr. Nusimow said 70,000 doctors use the company’s free digital health records, and about 3,000 pay for medical-billing services.

Write to Timothy Hay at timothy.hay@wsj.com. Follow him on Twitter at @timwhay