Apple is Getting Serious About Health

For a while, I have wondered why the really big software players have not been directly in healthcare, the Microsofts and Apples of this world.

But now, Apple is spooling up its well oiled machine with a number of key hires, showing its investment in health.

I have heard reports that one of the key inspirations behind the creation of the Apple Watch, HealthKit, ResearchKit, and CareKit was Steve Jobs’s experiences of a disjointed American healthcare system. One that he realised could be tackled with good technology.

Good thing he ran the biggest tech company the world has ever seen.

That mission only continues today after two key hires that show how committed Apple is within the digital health space.

Apple recently hired Evan Doll, a former Apple engineer who went on to found the Flipboard app. During his time at Apple, he worked on some of the first iOS apps the company built.

As well as Doll, Apple brought onboard the co-founder of Google X lab, Yoky Matsuoka.

This is no pet project the company is working on, but a very serious statement.

Having started small, opening up ways for health tracking apps to collect, store, and share health data with HealthKit, Apple has moved into the areas of research and care data with ResearchKit and CareKit.

Some may be thinking, these iPhone guys aren’t just going to come into the digital health space and win. If you are, you would be thinking like Blackberry.

Apple has made a good track record of entering established markets and delivering the kind of experience and quality the world needs moving forwards.

In a lot of ways, Apple is the ideal company to have entered the healthcare space. It is deliberate, fussy, and not afraid to turn things upside down to position itself well for the future. And, most importantly, it doesn’t release a product until it is ready to be best in class.

We are only a few weeks away from seeing new releases, from iPhones, Macs, and a potentially repositioned Apple Watch, focussing on more health and fitness aspects.

But, the most exciting stuff is what will come from this growing healthcare team.

Right now, much of the digital health market is playing with the low hanging fruit. Care plans, data collection, data sharing, and the use of remote presence.

This is very much like the old cell phone days. Manufacturers were playing with SMS, ringtones, and low powered games.

Then Apple blew up the form factor with a sheet of glass that had the full internet on it. We didn’t even know that’s what we wanted our phones to look like.

My prediction, Apple is going to release a series of products and apps that enable a level of healthcare delivery and patient empowerment the likes of which we could never imagine.

Why do I believe that? Because this is the kind of innovation only a company like Apple can deliver.

This is going to be a very exciting time for healthcare technology.

THE AUTHOR

James Barton

James is a freelance writer and specialist in Digital Health. He brings his perspective as a leader within a reknowned supplier to developments within the healthcare technology industry.

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