Apple continues to move into wellness management – and medical centers are crucial partners.

In January, Apple announced that its Health app would make it possible for iPhone users to get control of their own medical records. The announcement was one of many Apple has made over the years as part of the company’s strategy to provide wellness and clinical care through its software and devices.

At the time, Apple said 12 hospitals were partnering with the company to provide the personal data that patients need to store on their personal devices in order to monitor data such as their allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. And now, Apple has signed up more partners, thus extending the reach of its Health app.

On March 29, Apple announced that nearly 40 more hospitals have signed up to support the sharing of personal records via the Health app. Participants include Cedars-Sinai, The University of Chicago Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Stanford Medicine. As Dr. Robert Harrington, cardiologist and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford, said in the announcement, “Any time you can put information in patients’ and doctors’ hands and allow there to be more informed decision making, that is the best of all.”

If you want to get a glimpse at the future of healthcare, keep an eye on the actions of bellwether businesses such as Apple. By tapping into the popularity of Apple devices, Apple is giving medical providers a major boost in an industry-wide attempt to improve personal wellness. More informed and empowered patients are going to be less likely to require hospital visits – which is good business for everyone.

But Apple’s foray into wellness is not without obstacles. The challenge of data privacy is all too clear in light of Facebook’s well documented lapses as well as the recent report that 150 million user accounts of Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal application were exposed through a data breach. Obviously, the data privacy is paramount in healthcare. As if to anticipate potential concerns, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been speaking out about Apple’s respect for customer data. He recently chided Facebook for its own lapses in protecting data. As he told Recode, “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”

Apple has faced criticism for lacking innovation in its traditional product design – but so far, its reputation as a healthcare partner is on the rise, and the company has managed to avoid being tarnished by a data scandal.  Look for Apple to build upon its reputation to create more healthcare partnerships.