Apple's Health Team Reportedly Facing Disagreements Over Direction, Leading to Some 'High-Profile Departures'

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's health team has faced a series of "high-profile departures" in the past year due to internal disagreements about direction, according to CNBC's Christina Farr, who cites multiple people familiar with the matter.


    The report explains that some Apple employees feel the company could be taking on more ambitious health-related projects like a telemedicine service or simplified insurance billing, while others are satisfied with Apple's focus on wellness and prevention like its ECG app for the Apple Watch:
    The report acknowledges that it is unclear if the attrition rate within the health team is higher than that of other teams at Apple, so part of this could be normal day-to-day differences in opinions and turnover that a large company faces.

    When the ECG app for the Apple Watch was unveiled last year, the report claims that some employees were "frustrated" by the negative reaction from some doctors and others in the medical industry, as these employees are said to have pushed for a "small and focused product launch" that would have involved gathering feedback from the medical community to reduce any potential pushback.

    Apple did, however, secretly invite cardiologists and other medical experts to its headquarters in California every six months or so while the ECG app was under development, according to the report.

    A recent employee morale survey within Apple's health team apparently "showed signs of discontent," leading Apple COO Jeff Williams to speak with several employees to address their concerns. Williams has overseen the health team at Apple for several years, including development of the Apple Watch.

    Leadership changes also may have contributed to some of the recent departures.

    Below Williams, the health team's leadership is said to include former Adobe executive Kevin Lynch, who is said to oversee software projects like Apple Health Records; Eugene Kim, responsible for Apple Watch hardware, and Sumbul Desai, who oversees the ECG app, Apple Heart Study, and heart health strategy.

    Most of the employees who left the health team worked under Desai, per the report:
    Despite the reported struggles, Apple's health team has accomplished a lot over the past few years, including the potentially life saving ECG app for the Apple Watch and Apple Health Records. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said these health efforts will be the company's "greatest contribution to mankind."

    Article Link: Apple's Health Team Reportedly Facing Disagreements Over Direction, Leading to Some 'High-Profile Departures'
  2. IRockThat828pScreen macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2019
  3. miniroll32 macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2010
  4. cknibbs macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Come on people... just open up the “Breathe” app...
  5. Baymowe335, Aug 20, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019

    Baymowe335 macrumors 603

    Oct 6, 2017
    This is life in corporate America.

    This is the biggest non story ever.

    That said, I’d agree that moving heavy into billing, insurance, or other nitty gritty healthcare related endeavors is questionable.

    The healthcare industry is a cluster. Apple needs to focus on the information, tracking, and features aspects to healthcare. Not billing patients and providing insurance benefits. That’s a cluster.
  6. NMBob macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2007
    New Mexico
    I'm starting the rumor that some people in management wanted to have Micky Mouse tap his foot in synch with your heart rate. Worker Bees didn't like that.
  7. ghanwani macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    Surprised they needed a morale survey, the data they gather from the employees' watches should have been enough.
  8. magicschoolbus macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2014
    I'm not sure I want the health care industry lobby and big tech in bed with each other. Seems like a recipe for di$a$ter.
  9. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    Those who left probably wanted to focus on a healthy battery that lasts for several days.
  10. mannyvel macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2019
    Hillsboro, OR
    The problem with the healthcare industry is that everyone talks about better healthcare, but the principals involved don't want to change their behavior. That includes everyone: Providers (Doctors), Payers (insurance companies), and Patients (you and me).

    In any case Apple isn't in a position to advocate for change in the healthcare space, so kudos to management. As a platform company they should be an enabler, and they're doing that quite well.
  11. mdriftmeyer macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2004
    Pacific Northwest
    But financially speaking, the Doctors and the Principals profiteering at alarming rates see the consumer and cattle w/o end. They don't want improved health for the masses. They want people in constant treatment.

    Congress needs to dictate price caps and level the playing field. That takes a collective will to fix what they allow to be broken.
  12. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    same old story. It's the company "culture" that usually always drives people to quit Apple. Seems like a nightmare place to work. Maybe with Ive now gone, people figure it's time to abandon ship too.
  13. DevNull0 macrumors 68020

    Jan 6, 2015
    And the second coming of the John Sculley phase of Apple is reaching its late stage.

    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
  14. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    Uh… OK?

    That seems weird to me. So does Apple Card, though.

    I didn't get the impression that the overall reaction was negative. There were inevitably going to be some cautious doctors. If anything, that's good — skepticism is healthy.

    I don't really know where this story is going.

    Health research takes time. There are rumors now and then about the Watch measuring blood glucose and… maybe? But also maybe not for another decade. It takes time.
  15. rosegoldoli macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2019
    I agree with management on this one. the health team seems to be going out of scope for Apple. Apple is a tech company first and they are doing the health tech on the Apple Watch very well. to be expanding to insurance and billing muddles the water too much and the focus becomes less clear
  16. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    It sounds like basically any non-trivial place to work. A company with 132,000 employees is guaranteed to have some teams that aren't perfect.
  17. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    I’d much rather see Apple expand in the health space than original TV content.
  18. The Clark macrumors 6502

    The Clark

    Dec 11, 2013
    Victoria, BC
    Luckily Apple has invested 6 billion into their streaming service!
  19. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    This time there is no miracle for Apple. However, before that happens, there's a long (and I mean long) road.

    Cook for all intent and purposes is a keeper and a good steward, not a dreamer or vision pusher. Hence the lack of "leadership" within teams.
  20. ersan191 macrumors 65816

    Oct 26, 2013
    I cannot imagine Apple ever getting into telemedicine lol, and “simplified insurance billing” sounds incredibly boring.
  21. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Sounds like every company I have ever worked for or been involved with and if it wasn’t Apple it wouldn’t even merit a small note in the local paper.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 20, 2019 ---
    Boring, without a doubt, but it would be incredibly impactful to the healthcare industry if they got adoption. You wouldn’t believe the machinery necessary to handle insurance claims, billing, precertifications, etc.
  22. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I think that too much too soon would doom the Watch. A focus on staying healthy makes the most sense as the priority. Going too fast might overwhelm and confuse users and creates the potential for mistakes. You don’t come back from mistakes that end up killing a patient.

    I wouldn’t oppose introducing telemedicine at some point but this seems like something Apple should partner with an existing telemedicine company for. I don’t know if I’d want to see an “Apple Doctor”. I don’t see a problem with building in health insurance into the health app, with payable bills going through ApplePay.

    Get the basics right, keep adding features steadily. Telemedicine would be a huge endeavour if done all at once.
  23. Khedron macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2013
    Tim's next subscription service: Apple Health Insurance+

    Insurance is void if you remove your Apple Watch for more than 6 hours per day
  24. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    So pretty much like at any company ever?
  25. pike908 macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2015
    Boulder, CO
    Geez, Apple would be nuts to even position themselves as some sort of medical diagnostic company. Talk about opening a can of potential legal worms.

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