Tim Cook: Apple can make a ‘significant contribution’ in health care

“Apple CEO Tim Cook talked up the company’s ambitions in the health-care sector on Tuesday, hinting that it will move beyond wellness apps and devices, like its step-tracking Apple Watch,” Christina Farr and Paayal Zaveri report for CNBC. “Cook acknowledged at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Cupertino, California, that the health-care sector, which is notoriously complex, doesn’t always encourage new players to innovate. But he reassured shareholders that he views Apple as having a ‘great position,’ in the sector, by taking a more consumer-friendly approach.”

“To get beyond wellness, Apple will need to work with federal regulators going forward. Cook also said at the meeting that he’s ‘not worrying’ about whether the government will agree to reimburse its offerings,” Farr and Zaveri report. “Apple is already collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a pilot program to help the agency figure out how to regulate lower-risk digital health products. While it might not be getting widely reimbursed by insurers, it has locked down a partnership with health insurer Aetna to get discounted Apple Watches into the hands of its members.”

“Cook also mentioned the company’s efforts to bring medical records to the iPhone. This product is still in beta, and only about a dozen hospitals are signed up, although the company has big ambitious to open this up more broadly to the entire U.S. health-care ecosystem,” Farr and Zaveri report. “‘The more and more time we spend on this,’ explained Cook, ‘the more excited I am that Apple can make a significant contribution here.'”

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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  1. Not that great an article on Apple’s position in Health. Apple is working with companies in Diabetes, Heart care, health records, medical textbooks, etc. I think whoever wrote the article was just given the assignment and did as little research as possible.

  2. Human behavior has more influence on health than any app. Poor diet, excessive calorie consumption, lack of exercise, tobacco and alcohol abuse contribute more to illness and maladies than genetics. It’s a shame what is called “health care” is really disease management.

    1. Personal behavior is a BFD, but you might broaden that to include the environment. Behavior is part of the physical environment the body is exposed to, but air quality and other factors are big as well.

      Where you live geographically, how you live (kind of structure and how it is maintained) and local contaminants have a lot to do with it. Areas with high concentration of Diesel fumes show much higher incidence of respiratory disease and more exacerbation of existing conditions, for example.

  3. They are going to have to up their game.

    Just deleted Cardiogram this morning.
    The app showed my heart rate as 118 bpm overnight. The only problem is the watch was not being worn and was sitting on my desk- oops.

    Cannot tell you if the problem is Apple’s HW or Cardiogram SW, but this is the current Apple Watch with LTE and up to date on SW.

    In Medicine we do not like beta software. It has to be accurate, reliable, dependable and verifiable. Every time.

  4. Problem is, Cook and his minions are in over their heads. People are sick of the middle men in the healthcare industry already. Why do you think they would accept a new one that today makes everything designed first and foremost to lock the user into a walled garden with a rental fee attached?

    Apple beancounters know that medical device companies have three times the profit margins of consumer electronics. Problem is, Apple hasn’t shown the dedication to excellence and continuous attention to minute details.

    The Cook roadmap is a mess. Timmy has tried to pivot from a PC company, then phone company, then jewelry company, then a media rental service, and now health company. I don’t see Apple leading in any category if it keeps acting like a scatterbrained millennial chasing the latest shiny emoji laden social media thing acting as a nanny to remind you to exercise today. We already know.

    Medical excellence takes orders of magnitude more effort than Cook has ever displayed.

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