Health+Benefits

An Apple a Decade

Apple’s move into the healthcare industry tells a story about the future of personal health data.
By Katie Oberkircher Posted on August 10, 2020

For a technology company that has staked its reputation on innovation and consumer trust, shifting into the health data space is the natural next move for Apple. The tech giant has made significant strides to attach health and privacy to its brand by building on the trust it has maintained with its customer base. Most consumers trust the Apple brand more than competitors like Google or Amazon because of how each company treats user information.

There is currently no existing third-party developer ecosystem for health data, allowing Apple to solve for a gap in the backend of the healthcare system. That solution combined with the element of trust positioned the tech giant to act as a connecter.

Instead of interactions revolving around the record-keeping abilities of hospitals and providers, Apple is building a consumer-centered, or patient-centered, approach by focusing on infrastructure, allowing app developers to build application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used to access data from different systems.

Patient claims and clinical data drive the national dialogue on healthcare data reform, with critics questioning whether open source software frameworks—enabled by FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources)—are the most secure way to share private health information. While consumers have the ability through HIPAA to request their medical records and share them, many do not.

Apple is betting that the combination of wellness (your progress toward a healthier lifestyle) and healthcare (maintenance or improvement of health based on diagnosis and treatment) will create a product that people can engage with more regularly.

Over 120 healthcare institutions are a part of Apple’s health record, including Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, and LabCorp. Apple has also partnered with insurance companies and academia, connecting its tools, resources, and devices to care delivery, research, and reimbursement.

It is noteworthy that Apple chose data access as its entry point into the healthcare system. Empowering consumers to take charge of the way health information flows throughout the delivery system could have a significant impact on the way medical research is conducted, how risks are measured, and how a person’s health is tracked over time.

In part three of a four-part health tech series, we tracked Apple’s insurance and data-focused healthcare moves over the past decade (2010-2020).

Katie Oberkircher Director, Health Policy & Strategy Read More

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