The Medical Futurist


A 2021 Update

[Excerpts] “I do think there will be a day when people looking back will say Apple’s greatest contribution to the world was healthcare.” Tim Cook surprised most of his audience when he said this during the Time 100 Summit in 2019.

This article is a supplement to the content of our e-book, Tech Giants in Healthcare. It’s also the second entry to our new series that provides a snapshot of what a given tech giant is working on its way to disrupt healthcare. We first looked at the recent healthcare developments around Amazon which indicate the company’s bet on remote care and an aim to overhaul the pharmaceutical industry. 

For its part, Apple entered the healthcare market later than its competitors but is working on acquiring a significant share of the market. Are the recent developments indicative of Tim Cook’s statement? Let’s see the steps that the company is taking to reach that vision.

The Apple Watch phenomenon

According to Statista, Apple holds the largest share of the global smartwatch shipment market. In the first quarter of 2020, that accounted for a substantial 47.9% share of the market. The company has been heavily leveraging the popularity of its smartwatch for its healthcare plans.
Healthcare? There’s an app for that!

Apple’s Health app aims to bridge patients and doctors, and all the data in-between. In early June, new features were announced for the app that further hammered in this aim. It already gathers health data from a user’s iPhone, Apple Watch and other apps to make them accessible in one place.

Healthcare? There’s an app for that!

Apple’s Health app aims to bridge patients and doctors, and all the data in-between. In early June, new features were announced for the app that further hammered in this aim. It already gathers health data from a user’s iPhone, Apple Watch and other apps to make them accessible in one place. 

Healthcare designed by Apple

Mid-June 2021, we [The Medical Futurist] got more details about Apple’s healthcare plans. It turns out that the tech giant does not plan to limit itself to smartwatches and apps; but also wants to provide a full-blown primary-care medical service of its own. The news came from an exclusive report by the Wall Street Journal that had access to insider contacts and documents.
Their medical service would be fully run by Apple with Apple-employed doctors working at Apple-owned clinics. To test this bold plan, the WSJ says the company took over employee health clinics near its headquarters that were previously run by a startup. It built a team of clinicians, engineers and product designers to test out its new health services in those clinics.

While the effort is ongoing and is at a preliminary stage according to the report, this would signify a radical move by a tech giant. And Apple has the resources to make such a move.

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