Apple aims to revolutionize healthcare – for free

“Last week, Apple announced another step forward in its health efforts,” Billy Duberstein writes for The Motley Fool. “The upcoming update for its iOS operating system will include a new ‘Health Records’ feature, which will store electronic medical records on the iPhone. Getting a central, easy-to-access platform for your medical records is actually quite the herculean task, with numerous logistical and regulatory hurdles. More than that, even if Apple manages to accomplish what others haven’t been able to, the iPhone giant insists it won’t be charging consumers for its achievement.”

“Other formidable companies have tried this health records challenge before, without much success. Google shut its health records initiative in 2012, Microsoft ended its HealthVault Insights platform in 2014, and the U.S. government spent $40 billion in Stimulus Act money trying to digitalize and simplify the country’s health records — and we’re still not at 100% adoption yet,” Duberstein writes. “Apple’s old slogan was ‘Think Different,’ and some experts believe this time may, in fact, be different with respect to medical records.”

“Apple has devised a system whereby doctors can upload information directly to Apple’s servers, fully encrypted, without the company ever seeing that data,” Duberstein writes. ” If Apple can link your personal health and wellness to your smartphone, it won’t have to charge for it, as it will keep consumers hooked on its extremely profitable iPhone and Apple Watch franchises going forward.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is uniquely positioned to accomplish this very formidable task.

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

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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
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Tim Cook hints Apple might build a health device – November 10, 2015
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  1. I believe that Apple is the most trusted of all entities, public or governmental. No wonder that the NSA, dictatorships, and law enforcement hate it in their snooping endeavors all the while favoring their iPhones for personal use for the same reason. Oh, the dicotomy.

  2. This will require a hook from other programs to upload to Apple servers from within numerous different platforms. Not that it is difficult, but it will require some work for Apple, the other developers, and even health care staff to make it work. None should be insurmountable.

  3. A trusted company with a desire to help without a manager waiting to shut it down the moment they realize it won’t generate the mega profit other companies require? This might just work.
    And unlike Google and Microsoft, Apple is a company that will respect privacy instead of trying to mine it. So yea, this might work.

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