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Apple has been talking for years about the role it wants to play in human health, led by the Apple Watch and its array of health-related features. With the Apple Watch maturing and Apple increasing its integration of health-focused hardware and software, several pieces of evidence suggest the company is positioning itself for an even bigger expansion in that direction.

apple-health-keynote.jpg

According to trends compiled by Linkedin and seen by MacRumors, over the past year, Apple's open job listings in health-related fields have increased by over 220%, with a significant portion of the increase coming in just the last several months. Apple's health-focused hiring has been the fastest-growing segment for the company over the past year, followed most closely by sales and IT specialists, such as in cloud computing and security, according to the data.

Apple has stepped up features and services related to consumers' health over the past several years, with much of the credit being given to the Apple Watch. Apple has slowly transformed the Apple Watch into a more integral health tool, incorporating more sensors, such as blood oxygen, with on-device machine intelligence to notice possibly alarming trends in heart rate and more.

In another sign of its aspirations in health, Apple this week announced that Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky has joined its Board of Directors. Gorsky is a "visionary in healthcare" who brings with him "tremendous insight, experience, and passion for technology to the cause of improving lives and building healthier communities," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. Gorsky joins former Genentech Chairman and CEO Arthur Levinson on Apple's board, giving Apple significant health-related expertise on its board.

As for Apple's job listings, many of them focus on health research rather than specific product development roles. Apple has invested heavily in health research with the Research app, pursuing it as the first step for any future health features on the iPhone or Apple Watch. Apple's health research efforts of course also internally support the development of new products and features.

apple-research-app.jpeg

One particular job listing posted earlier in the summer seeks a manager to "lead human study efforts in collecting data to support development and validation of new health sensors and algorithms." Another job listing seeks a more product-oriented candidate that will "work closely with other designers, writers, engineers, scientists, researchers, and business partners to concept, prototype, and design elegant experiences that help our customers be in control of their health."

Apple has branched out regarding health, moving away from only providing users data from sensors on the iPhone and Apple Watch, but also working with hospitals and medical institutions to create a broader ecosystem. With the Health app on iOS 15, Apple added functionality for users to share health data with family and close friends, COVID-19 vaccine records, blood glucose highlights, and more.

The centerpiece of Apple's health roadmap is the Apple Watch, and reports suggest the watch will continue to mature as an independent health device in the years to come. Users may be able to measure their body temperature and even their blood pressure in future iterations of the Apple Watch.

Apple-Watch-Body-Temperature-Finished.jpg

"Apple's most-important contribution to mankind has been in health," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview in January of 2019, just months after the Apple Watch had gained the ability for users to take an ECG right on their wrist. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company's recent health-related hiring trends.

Article Link: Apple's Increasing Focus on Health Seen in Recent Hiring Trends, New Board Member
 
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swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
It's kind of a ripe opportunity given how overwhelmed primary care services are. Either the system has to change, which it hasn't and seems like it never will, or people will find new ways to take preventative health measures, which it seems like is happening more and more. (Only speaking for US perspective. Other countries seem to manage primary care better.) You can find an Apple Watch anywhere, but finding a PCP taking patients? I'm not saying one can replace the other. Just that one is much more readily available.
 
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darcyf

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2011
781
1,264
Toronto, ON
I wouldn’t be surprised if they one day released sensor-infused athletic footwear. Wearables for health and fitness in tech is still a massively untapped market.
 
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danfrumkin

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2011
25
7
Apple's approach to health is very subtle and effective. Keeps health in the top of your mind without being pushy. And if you want to scale up to a fitness activity, they are there all the way. I would like a VR fitness setting for the apple watch, though.
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
6,256
16,951
SoCal
Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.
 

DeepWebinar

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2020
123
133
Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.
What’s AW?
 

MrMojo1

macrumors 6502
Aug 25, 2010
289
169
New England
Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.
The AW isn't a medical device hence probably why many healthcare providers still don't embrace it.
Even Apple stated publicly not to consider the AW a medical device but for fitness which there is a big difference.
The general public should also learn the difference and stop being ignorant of that fact.
Having said that... the healthcare industry is slowly opening up that fitness devices are appearing and that the general public is slowly embracing them, using it as an indicator of their health so the industry should at least start being more open-minded about the various devices.
 
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stockseer

macrumors member
Dec 20, 2012
84
44
Florida
Glucose monitoring is a big leap forward for Apple Watch 8; if Rockley Photonics has it ready by then. No more needle pricks for diabetics; would alone boost tremendous sales. 'Clinic on your wrist' is the term; and I think too many expected this in Watch 7 even though Rockley said 2022-23 commercialization is their timeline. (So RKLY shares collapsed from the SPAC IPO around 15 and now near 6 -tax loss selling by those who bought the opening.) Rockley probably is a potential multi-x gainer next year if this all proceeds in time for Watch 8. Rumors should increase by springtime 2022.
 

newbmacuser2021

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2021
354
122
You don’t have to put something like Apple Health on Android or Fitbit. There is no law requiring you to do so.

The only reason to do so is because creating one option leaves you with only one option.

And while Apple is an industry leader, putting all your eggs in the Apple basket, as the stock market has shown, could be catastrophic.

So Google is rushing Fitbit just in-case.
 

stockseer

macrumors member
Dec 20, 2012
84
44
Florida
You don’t have to put something like Apple Health on Android or Fitbit. There is no law requiring you to do so.

The only reason to do so is because creating one option leaves you with only one option.

And while Apple is an industry leader, putting all your eggs in the Apple basket, as the stock market has shown, could be catastrophic.

So Google is rushing Fitbit just in-case.
Rockley is not only tied to Apple. Rockley had seed money from Apple and Medtronic; and expects to rollout their platform (based on Synopsis) to various providers. Rockley just closed an AI cooperation research deal with CalTech in Pasadena this week too (it may relate to health monitoring projects for NASA and miniaturized monitoring of astronauts in space).
 
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jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
6,256
16,951
SoCal
The AW isn't a medical device hence probably why many healthcare providers still don't embrace it.
Even Apple stated publicly not to consider the device a medical device but for fitness which there is a big difference.
The general public should also learn the difference and stop being ignorant of that fact.
Having said that... the healthcare industry is slowly opening up that fitness devices are appearing and that the general public is slowly embracing them, using it as an indicator of their health so the industry should at least start being more open-minded about the various devices.
AW is clearly not a medical device and imho will never become one unless they decide to create a “medical edition” that then will be priced accordingly…
I have to find that article again, it was somewhat disheartening to read that healthcare providers complain about patients “worrying too much” about the data they get from their devices… while some are getting it, I think the problem is the Pharma side and doctors still are quick to prescribe meds when not really needed, in the US that is. So a big shift in mindset along with $$$ needs to occur…
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
6,256
16,951
SoCal
Glucose monitoring is a big leap forward for Apple Watch 8; if Rockley Photonics has it ready by then. No more needle pricks for diabetics; would alone boost tremendous sales. 'Clinic on your wrist' is the term; and I think too many expected this in Watch 7 even though Rockley said 2022-23 commercialization is their timeline. (So RKLY shares collapsed from the SPAC IPO around 15 and now near 6 -tax loss selling by those who bought the opening.) Rockley probably is a potential multi-x gainer next year if this all proceeds in time for Watch 8. Rumors should increase by springtime 2022.
I totally agree that CGM would be awesome and I do believe the technology will be there at some point, however, if it were to come to the AW and not requiring needles, thus allowing diabetics to “just look at their watch”, it would be a medical device, peoples lives would depend on its accuracy. I do not believe we will see that kind of functionality for another 3+ years in an AW (as much as I would like to).
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,911
2,502
Pennsylvania
Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.

They're not actually conservative. I work in the field, and we're using AWS, Azure, Kubernetes, etc. We have multiple data centers, fallback data centers, It's a really high level of tech, to be honest. I'm actually in a meeting right now discussing how we can support Android 12 theming in our app. That's maybe 12 months out from being cutting edge.

What is conservative is anything related to HIPAA. And the majority of HIPAA related data is stored in EMRs, which are 3rd party vendors. Epic, for example, holds 54% of all medical records for Americans. And they're nice... and... slow... which severely limits how much you can do. IIRC, they don't support Apple Watch yet either, which is a major reason why we don't support the Apple Watch.

The other issue with using IoT devices to get health data is that you need to make them reliable and fool-proof enough that you can hand them out to end users who have no medical training and use still trust the data that they give back.

Imagine asking a cardiac patient to put on their own heart monitors; the data would be unreliable at best, so while it's nice that you can do it from the comfort of home, you'd still have false positives and false negatives due to the fact that you can't trust that the leads are connected properly.

Now lets move to HealthKit. Apple's be-all-end-all for healthcare.

Imagine Starbucks automatically adds your caffeine intake into HealthKit whenever you order a drink using their app. And that you're also using a calorie tracking app, so you add in your coffee when you get it. If that calorie tracking app also adds in the caffeine, the HealthKit data now contains 2x the entries for your coffee. And since the calorie counter doesn't know about Starbucks, it doesn't take it into consideration. The only way that your data is correct is if Apple can determine that your manually entered data is identical to what Starbucks gives - And it's really hard to determine if it's 1 cup of coffee from Starbucks and one from the coffee machine, or if it's the same coffee.

So all this data that's in HealthKit, is unreliable -- it's kind of useless from a clinical standpoint.

Sure you can look at trends, or say "This person drinks a lot of coffee" or "This person hardly ever has coffee", but that's about all it's good for, in its current state. Abstractions, estimates, and best guesses. You can get the same resolution of data by asking a person "Do you exercise regularly", or even just looking at their waist line.

Step counting and the like is great for the gamification of your health (and selling Apple Fitness+), but not for precise clinical data.
 

stockseer

macrumors member
Dec 20, 2012
84
44
Florida
I totally agree that CGM would be awesome and I do believe the technology will be there at some point, however, if it were to come to the AW and not requiring needles, thus allowing diabetics to “just look at their watch”, it would be a medical device, peoples lives would depend on its accuracy. I do not believe we will see that kind of functionality for another 3+ years in an AW (as much as I would like to).
You're right it would require FDA ok as a medical device. Some 'sketches' are out there already suggesting the circuitry; so I wonder if it's basically ready and the testing is an ongoing phase already. I believe they are testing this at Brussels Airport this week (the Rockley folks) on public volunteers. If so it may be the first such demonstration/test.
 
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stockseer

macrumors member
Dec 20, 2012
84
44
Florida
You're right it would require FDA ok as a medical device. Some 'sketches' are out there already suggesting the circuitry; so I wonder if it's basically ready and the testing is an ongoing phase already. I believe they are testing this at Brussels Airport this week (the Rockley folks) on public volunteers. If so it may be the first such demonstration/test.
Also Rockley has referred to Medtronic in discussions; so maybe that's the reason; it arrives first as a 'stand alone' wrist-fit device; then later on arrives at Apple Watch?
 
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