According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is developing its most ambitious project yet, a healthcare service complete with “Apple doctors.” Apple took over clinics that catered to its employees and formed a team with a number of clinicians, engineers, product designers, and others to test this possible offering and “other innovative healthcare ideas.”
While the news that Apple is working on a healthcare service is unexpected, it’s not unheard of for the corporation to look for alternative ways to innovate in the health sector. The Apple Watch, which debuted in 2015 as a hazy and ambiguous fashion accessory, has subsequently evolved into a de facto health device that can track your heart rate, oxygen levels, and a variety of other health and activity data. Apple Fitness, a subscription service aimed at keeping people healthy, was launched last year.
Apple planned to use the Apple Watch and the health data it and other Apple devices acquired in combination with other Apple products, according to WSJ:
“Apple would offer primary care, but also continuous health monitoring as part of a subscription-based personalized health program, according to these people and the documents. If Apple could prove that its combination of device sensors, software and services could improve people’s health and lower costs, the company could franchise the model to health systems and even other countries, according to the documents. To start, Apple chose to test the service out on its own employees. Apple took over employee health clinics near its headquarters that were being run by a startup and turned them into test beds for new health services, say people familiar with the changes. In 2017 it hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University to run the effort, which was given the code name Casper, said the people familiar with the plan.”
It’s unclear how much this Apple healthcare subscription plan will cost subscribers, but it doesn’t appear to replace health insurance entirely.
Those wishing for the idea to be implemented may have to wait a long time. According to WSJ, Apple’s healthcare initiatives have “essentially stopped,” and the company is instead focusing its health efforts on its existing gadgets, such as the Apple Watch. In related news, Apple Maps has integrated COVID-19 vaccination sites into its services.
Photo via Apple