Apple employees can now access free genetic tests through AC Wellness, a separate company set up by Apple in 2018 to provide primary care services exclusively to Apple employees. AC Wellness and Color Genomics started working together on the pilot several months ago, CNBC reports
The idea is to move health care at Apple’s clinics from reactive to proactive, as genetic tests can offer a window into health risks down the line. In some cases, patients can take preventative steps to reduce their likelihood of getting a disease.
By offering cutting-edge medical treatments like genetic testing, AC Wellness can help Apple recruit and retain talented employees. In addition, although AC Wellness is technically a separate company from Apple, medical experts have speculated that it could help Apple quietly test new products or ideas without risking leaks. So the group’s partnership with Color could indicate Apple’s broader interest in the space.
Color’s test analyzes gene mutations that are known to be associated with cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as ancestry information.
Color doesn’t sell its test directly to consumers, unlike its competitors Ancestry and 23andMe. Instead, clinicians at AC Wellness must prescribe the Color test to Apple employees and provide follow-up consults after they get their results. Color allows doctors to recommend the whole test or specific parts of it, depending on factors like the patients’ medical history.
MacDailyNews Take: This will save some Apple employees’ lives.
I do think, looking back, in the future, you will answer that question, Apple’s most-important contribution to mankind has been in health. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, January 8, 2019