Apple has reportedly considered plans to launch its own subscription-based healthcare service, according to a report from the the Wall Street newspaper. The idea was conceived in 2016, but reportedly stalled as Apple focused its health efforts on the Watch, Apple Health and other products and services instead.
The idea was first conceived when Apple was trying to figure out how reams of data collected from Watch users could be used to improve healthcare. A decision was made to provide a medical service of its own “connecting data generated by Apple devices with virtual and in-person care provided by Apple doctors,” according to the WSJ. Apple is said to offer not only primary care, but personalized health programs by subscription.
Apple reportedly took over a clinic near Apple Park and hired Dr Sumbul Desai from Stanford University to manage the project. She tested the service to begin with on her own employees, building a team that included clinicians, engineers and product designers.
One of the initiatives was supposed to be an app called HealthHabit that connected employees with clinicians via chat and encouraged them to set health goals. However, the app reportedly struggled with a low registration rate and questions about data integrity in the hypertension field. At a meeting in 2019, an official raised concerns with Desai about the data, which contributed to the official’s departure several weeks later, according to the report.
However, an Apple spokesperson said Dr Desai spoke about the importance of data integrity at the same meeting. “This case has been fully investigated and the allegations could not be substantiated,” the spokesperson said. WSJ. “Many of the claims in this report are based on incomplete, outdated and inaccurate information.” The spokesperson added that Apple is proud of Desai’s work and has been a key part of his healthcare efforts.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said health would be one of Apple’s greatest contributions to humanity. The idea of primary health care services slowed down but would still continue in the business.
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