Why iOS 11.3 could bring customer service and EMR to the iPhone

The update also offers improved AR experiences and new Animoji.

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Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Apple released iOS 11.3, offering a business chat feature that could make it a more usable platform for organizations to reach users.
  • The Health Records feature in iOS 11.3 could offer users better access to their own health data and better understand their medical conditions.

Apple released iOS 11.3 into general availability on Thursday, with new ways for businesses to communicate with iPhone users, improved augmented reality (AR) functionality, access to personal health records, and more.

For the enterprise, one of the key features is Business Chat, which allows businesses to directly communicate with users in the Messages app, an Apple press release said. Users communicate with a human employee of the company, of whom they can ask a question or make a payment to with Apple Pay.

"When searching for a retailer, hotel, bank or other business in Spotlight Search, Safari or Maps, users will have the option to send a message directly to them from the Messages app on iPhone and iPad, and continue conversations with Apple Watch or Mac," the release said. "Users are always in control of their contact information -- businesses will not receive any personal data by default."

SEE: System update policy (Tech Pro Research)

Health Records, which allows a user to easily access his or her own health data in the Health app, is another core feature of iOS 11.3. It is compatible with data across more than 40 different health systems, the release said, and the data is encrypted with a passcode.

The new feature will make it easier for users to keep up with their own lab results, medications, and conditions, the release said. However, as noted by TechRepublic's Jason Hiner, it could also be a tipping point for electronic medical records (EMR).

Data and privacy also got a boost in iOS 11.3, the release said, specifically regarding how users can understand how their data is used.

"A new privacy icon and detailed privacy information will appear whenever Apple asks for access to personal information to enable features, secure Apple services or personalize an iOS experience," the release said.

Additional features in iOS 11.3 will show a user more detailed information about his or her battery health and performance, including whether or not the battery needs to be serviced,

The release of iOS 11.3 also included new Animoji and some additional ARKit experiences, the release noted. For a full list of features, check out the full release here.

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Image: CNET