Apple health director exits to keep a promise to sister who died of cancer

“Apple’s health boss, Anil Sethi, has left the company to start venture focusing on helping very sick patients after his sister died from cancer,” Christina Farr reports for CNBC. “Sethi’s medical record start-up Gliimpse was acquired by Apple in August 2016… Sethi had been on leave from Apple for several months to care full-time for his sister, Tania. One of Sethi’s goals with Gliimpse was to help her aggregate her medical information, including labs and charts. She died of cancer on Sept. 11.

“He since decided not to rejoin the Apple health team and instead is starting a new company, dubbed Ciitizen, which is focused on making it easier for people like Tania to get their information — whether it’s about genomes, labs, ethical wills or advanced directives — and share it with researchers on request,” Farr reports. “He describes it as ‘health data as a palliative.'”

“Sethi made his sister a promise in her final days to dedicate his life to improving cancer care for patients,” Farr reports. “He describes his start-up as ‘depth rather than breadth.’ He said that Apple has the opportunity to help more than 1 billion people by adding more health capabilities to iOS devices but in ways that are ‘not as deep.’ But Sethi stressed that Apple’s executives are personally excited about the opportunity in health. Eventually, he hopes to meet his former colleagues ‘in the middle,’ as Apple continues to work in health and wellness but starts to branch out into more medical applications like using Apple Watch to detect the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation with a goal of saving lives.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Our condolences and good luck to Anil and much success in his future endeavors!

One of the biggest issues in healthcare in the U.S. today is that there is no “Quarterback” – someone running the effort, coordinating the various specialists, making sure everyone is on the same page with the treatment plan(s), drug interactions, allergies, etc. A “playbook” showing the full picture of the patient’s health data would be very useful – and let the disparate medical personnel each quarterback on their own. Hopefully, Apple can step in, build, and fulfill this need with the company’s vaunted security and privacy.MacDailyNews, August 22, 2016

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. While that personal health journey had a great impact on Jobs personally, it turns out that it affected Apple’s top management, too. During this time, Jobs discovered how disjointed the healthcare system can be. He took on the task of trying to bring some digital order to various aspects of the healthcare system, especially the connection between patients, their data, and their healthcare providers…

I have long been observing these key moves around healthcare, which accelerated after Jobs’ death. It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers. I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died. And while Apple’s products define Jobs’ legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple’s greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.

It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born.Tim Bajarin, TIME Magazine, May 09, 2016

Apple working with a start-up ‘Health Gorilla’ in secretive personal health record initiative – October 20, 2017
Apple’s healthcare plans under the microscope: From iPhone apps to Apple Watch and what comes next – October 4, 2017
Apple granted U.S. patent for iPhone that measures and analyzes health data – August 8, 2017
Apple working with start-up on iPhone Electronic Health Records plan – June 19, 2017
Apple’s profound iPhone plans for healthcare – June 15, 2017
Apple acquires Gliimpse – August 22, 2016
Apple rehires Flipboard co-founder Evan Doll to develop health software – August 12, 2016
Apple working on all-new, advanced health-tracking hardware; years in the making – August 9, 2016
The real reason why Apple made the Apple Watch – May 09, 2016
Tim Cook hints Apple might build a health device – November 10, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook declares the end of the PC and hints at new medical product – November 10, 2015
Apple announces new ResearchKit studies for autism, epilepsy and melanoma – October 15, 2015
GlaxoSmithKline working on integrating Apple’s revolutionary ResearchKit into clinical trials – July 13, 2015
ResearchKit, Apple’s medical data experiment, explained – May 20, 2015
Apple announces ResearchKit available today to medical researchers – April 14, 2015
Why Apple’s ResearchKit signals a golden age for health care – March 28, 2015
ResearchKit: The inside story of how Apple’s revolutionary medical research platform was born – March 19, 2015
Apple’s open source ResearchKit will change the world for the better – March 9, 2015
Apple debuts ResearchKit, giving medical researchers the tools to revolutionize medical studies – March 9, 2015

[Attribution: Silicon Valley Business Journal. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. As an older guy who had gone through 4 cancer surgeries and a mountain of test I understand the need for consolidation of data and other medical information. I get a CD with a copy of each imaging, from x-rays to CT Scans., as well in the radiologists interpretations. I keep copies of lab reports and other information.

    When Apple delivers integration of blood sugar data as well as the integration of heart data I’ll be spending more money at the Apple Store.

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