Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company’s greatest contribution to mankind will be in health. Yet, to date, some Apple initiatives aimed at broadly disrupting the healthcare sector have struggled to gain traction, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing “people familiar with them and documents reviewed by The Journal.
Apple has envisioned an audacious plan for healthcare, offering its own primary-care medical service with Apple-employed doctors at its own clinics, according to people familiar with the plan and documents. To test that and other bold healthcare ideas, it took over clinics that catered to its employees and built a team with scores of clinicians, engineers, product designers and others.
Today those ambitions, which aren’t widely known, have largely stalled as Apple has shifted the focus of its health unit to something it knows well: Selling devices, specifically the Apple Watch, according to people familiar with its strategy.
The new primary-care service hasn’t gotten off the ground, people familiar with it say. A digital health app launched quietly this year has struggled to keep users engaged… Apple chose to test the service out on its own employees. Apple took over employee health clinics near its headquarters that were being run by a startup and turned them into test beds for new health services, say people familiar with the changes. In 2017 it hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University to run the effort, which was given the code name Casper, said the people familiar with the plan.
The effort continues today, but Apple has struggled to move Casper past a preliminary stage, say people familiar with its operations.
Dr. Desai’s unit in particular has seen multiple departures by employees who say its culture discourages critical feedback, which is potentially problematic for a unit focused on products and services related to personal health, according to people familiar with its culture and the documents.
MacDailyNews Take: “Many of the assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated and inaccurate information,” an Apple spokesman told The Journal.