Timeline: How Apple Is Piecing Together its Secret Healthcare Plan

Bill Siwicki | Healthcare IT News | June 23, 2017

From the launch of its HealthKit API in September 2014 to revelations this month of EHR-like work with a tiny startup, it’s clear that healthcare is in Apple’s eye.

Rumors are at a fever pitch that Apple has big plans for healthcare, including putting a medical record on the iPhone, possibly acquiring its way into the EHR market. From its leap into healthcare in 2014 with its HealthKit application programming interface in September 2014 to the June 19 revelation of Apple’s work with the tiny start-up Health Gorilla, Apple has made a series of moves in healthcare that clearly indicate the company has plans for the space that will somehow manifest on its mega-popular iPhone and iPad products. Here’s a look at how Apple got to where it is today in healthcare.

June 2017 - Health Gorilla and EHRs

Apple’s health team is working with start-up Health Gorilla to add a medical data hub to iPhones, CNBC reported. Health Gorilla is adding diagnostic data to the iPhone, including such measures as blood work, by integrating with hospitals, lab test companies and imaging centers. Health Gorilla says its goal is to give physicians a complete view of a patient’s health history. The startup has raised nearly $5 million in funding. The company focuses on physicians, serving as a way for the caregivers to place orders and share medical records. The company also has a free product for patients that quickly coalesces medical data. Apple and Health Gorilla could be targeting hospitals’ inability to get a complete electronic picture of patients and so if Apple can put the patient at the center of the equation, via its own devices, then patients can use their iPhones to present all necessary medical data to physicians, wherever they may be.

June 2017 - Hires Sumbul Desai, MD

Apple hired Sumbul Desai, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford. Desai also serves as vice chair of the department of medicine and chief digital officer at Stanford Center for Digital Health. While continuing to see patients at Stanford, Desai will serve in a senior role at Apple, CNBC reported. She could join the team working on ResearchKit, HealthKit and CareKit, or work on another project; Apple has not said. At Stanford, Desai created ClickWell Care, a telemedicine effort. She also has been responsible for promoting use of various digital health devices, including the Apple Watch. Apple has a fondness for Silicon Valley talent, as Desai’s hiring shows...