Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,018
17,396


Apple is scaling back its work on a critical internal initiative within its health department, possibly presenting a significant setback to the company's long-term health goals, as well as the departure of multiple staff members, according to a report from Business Insider.

apple-health-keynote.jpg

The initiative in question is an internal app used by employees called "HealthHabit" that allowed them to monitor and log a wide range of health metrics, such as fitness goals, management of hypertension, and gain direct access to clinicians in the AC Wellness group, a doctors group that has Apple has partnered with.

According to Business Insider, Apple is "scaling back" HealthHabit, which had a dedicated team of 50 employees working on the app. The report notes that employees who previously worked on the app will be dismissed unless they find another role within the company.
More than 50 employees were spending a significant amount of time working on the app. Some of them will be laid off with severance if they're unable to find other roles inside Apple in the next few weeks, two of the people said. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Their identities are known to Insider.
At its original inception, Apple had hoped that HealthHabit would allow for experimentation of possible new health services. HealthHabit is one project part of Apple Health, a division within Apple that consists of hundreds of engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, and more that oversee Apple's health features, such as the ones inside the Apple Watch.

Despite the cutback on staff and resources, the report notes that HealthHabit may continue internally at a much smaller scale or possibly shut down entirely. A report in June by The Wall Street Journal detailed how Apple has piloted the idea of launching a healthcare service based on a subscription model with "Apple Doctors." That project, spearheaded by Dr. Sumbul Desai of Stanford University, has, however, stalled.

Over the past few years, Apple has continued to build health features into the iPhone and Apple Watch. In the years to come, Apple is looking to expand the capability of the Apple Watch itself by adding new sensors, such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol monitoring.

Article Link: Report: Apple Scaling Back Internal 'HealthHabit' Project for Employee Health Tracking and Coaching
 

Khedron

Suspended
Sep 27, 2013
2,561
5,740
I wonder the reason behind this. Health continues to be more and more important to Apple, and I think Cook has said that this is the area where they could affect humanity most, so shutting down a portion of that group seems strange.

If Tim cared about health he would work to make health features of Apple Watch available to as many users as possible from the day of launch.

Experience proves over and over again he only cares about getting them approved in a single region for the sake of advertising. It can then be rolled out to other regions over months or years depending on what is most cost effective.
 

jfeathe

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2015
44
57
I’ve seen initiatives like this in my workplace. PE classes, seminars, weight loss classes, etc. While I’m sure some people appreciate these programs, I’m one of those people that comes to work to do my job and then leave as soon as I’m finished. HR/corporate types would be well-served to understand that not a lot of people want their workplace to be a full-service provider with programs to keep you there all day. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it was underutilized.

The larger question is whether these expanded medical services will ever be provided by Apple. Certainly Apple would love to monetize the health information they’re providing to watch owners by referring them to Apple-affiliated doctors, but if that requires people to change up their health providers and clinics, I don’t know how successful they’d be.
 

Khedron

Suspended
Sep 27, 2013
2,561
5,740
I’ve seen initiatives like this in my workplace. PE classes, seminars, weight loss classes, etc. While I’m sure some people appreciate these programs, I’m one of those people that comes to work to do my job and then leave as soon as I’m finished. HR/corporate types would be well-served to understand that not a lot of people want their workplace to be a full-service provider with programs to keep you there all day. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it was underutilized.

The larger question is whether these expanded medical services will ever be provided by Apple. Certainly Apple would love to monetize the health information they’re providing to watch owners by referring them to Apple-affiliated doctors, but if that requires people to change up their health providers and clinics, I don’t know how successful they’d be.

Tim has wet dreams about the day he can demand 30% of Watch-informed health insurance claims.
 

TheLastUserName

macrumors newbie
May 16, 2021
17
42


Apple is scaling back its work on a critical internal initiative within its health department, possibly presenting a significant setback to the company's long-term health goals, as well as the departure of multiple staff members, according to a report from Business Insider.

apple-health-keynote.jpg

The initiative in question is an internal app used by employees called "HealthHabit" that allowed them to monitor and log a wide range of health metrics, such as fitness goals, management of hypertension, and gain direct access to clinicians in the AC Wellness group, a doctors group that has Apple has partnered with.

According to Business Insider, Apple is "scaling back" HealthHabit, which had a dedicated team of 50 employees working on the app. The report notes that employees who previously worked on the app will be dismissed unless they find another role within the company.
At its original inception, Apple had hoped that HealthHabit would allow for experimentation of possible new health services. HealthHabit is one project part of Apple Health, a division within Apple that consists of hundreds of engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, and more that oversee Apple's health features, such as the ones inside the Apple Watch.

Despite the cutback on staff and resources, the report notes that HealthHabit may continue internally at a much smaller scale or possibly shut down entirely. A report in June by The Wall Street Journal detailed how Apple has piloted the idea of launching a healthcare service based on a subscription model with "Apple Doctors." That project, spearheaded by Dr. Sumbul Desai of Stanford University, has, however, stalled.

Over the past few years, Apple has continued to build health features into the iPhone and Apple Watch. In the years to come, Apple is looking to expand the capability of the Apple Watch itself by adding new sensors, such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol monitoring.

Article Link: Report: Apple Scaling Back Internal 'HealthHabit' Project for Employee Health Tracking and Coaching
Apple Health has had issues for years. I have to wonder if the fate of HealthHabit is just a symptom of deeper problems.


Dr Desai's project and team have faced pushback from Apple employees. Some employees, including midlevel managers, have been critical of the way Dr Desai's unit "discourages critical feedback," including allegations that the unit provided inaccurate data about the performance of the test clinics.

Employees concerned about the culture pointed to a 2019 meeting during which a midlevel manager raised questions about data, according to people familiar with the meeting and the documents. Dr. Desai responded angrily, leading some present to conclude that critical questions were unwelcome, according to the people and the documents. The manager left Apple weeks later, and the episode contributed to her departure, documents show.

 

I7guy

macrumors Penryn
Nov 30, 2013
27,621
15,867
Gotta be in it to win it
If Tim cared about health he would work to make health features of Apple Watch available to as many users as possible from the day of launch.

Experience proves over and over again he only cares about getting them approved in a single region for the sake of advertising. It can then be rolled out to other regions over months or years depending on what is most cost effective.
So the launch should be all or nothing...is what you are proposing?

That doesn't make much business sense. What does make business sense, is to first get it launched in the US, and then have a phased rollout to other countries.

Experience proves over and over again, Apple starts small (one country), is extremely successful and then starts moving forward with additional rollouts. There is nothing wrong in advertising a particular feature is successfully rolled out and working.
 
  • Like
Reactions: centauratlas

TheLastUserName

macrumors newbie
May 16, 2021
17
42
And vaccine status

Put it in Apple wallet and a phone app

Let me know by proximity when I’m near anti vaxxers so I can mask up and start spraying disinfects in their direction.
Oh yea. That would go over well.

 

VulchR

macrumors 68030
Jun 8, 2009
2,605
12,623
Scotland
Strange decision on Apple's part, particularly with Fitbit being gobbled up by ****ing Google.

Anyway, maybe the concluded there is only so much one can do with a phone or a watch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DanTSX

Regbial

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2010
716
554
They don't know what to innovate anymore, they don't know what features to add or focus on.. They are rushing towards that plateau..
 
  • Like
Reactions: snek

EdT

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2007
2,066
1,737
Omaha, NE
Anything that keeps track of your health electronically will be used against you by insurance companies, and probably state and local governments, at the very least. And now we know that Apple's privacy pledge aint worth an ounce of electronic ink there isn't any way I will use one of their devices for anything, health or otherwise, that can be used against me by a company or government. I don't expect Apple is trembling with fear over my statements, in fact, I don't think they care at all. Selling private information makes companies a lot of money and I think Apple is betting that their 'good reputation' will keep most users. And inertia about the trouble required to move to another, probably no more ethical system will keep most of the rest.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blueflame and NMBob

DanTSX

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,070
1,473
Anything that keeps track of your health electronically will be used against you by insurance companies, and probably state and local governments, at the very least. And now we know that Apple's privacy pledge aint worth an ounce of electronic ink there isn't any way I will use one of their devices for anything, health or otherwise, that can be used against me by a company or government. I don't expect Apple is trembling with fear over my statements, in fact, I don't think they care at all. Selling private information makes companies a lot of money and I think Apple is betting that their 'good reputation' will keep most users. And inertia about the trouble required to move to another, probably no more ethical system will keep most of the rest.

You’re getting a discount for not being unhealthy. There is nothing wrong with that. The heathy shouldn’t have to carry the burden of the unhealthy.
Honestly, this metric should be applied elsewhere. Taxes on food should be surcharged based on a combination of how healthy the consumer is, and how healthy the food is. We could put scales in the grocery stores along with temperature sensors and then read the biometrics of the health tracker.

check my body fat % and vo2max….no tax on my Ben and Jerries and double stuff Oreos 💪

We should start with smokers.
 
Last edited:

Apple_Robert

macrumors Penryn
Sep 21, 2012
29,246
37,658
In the middle of several books.
I am not surprised by this internal news. I am guessing there was some inside pushback as a lot of people don't want to share or have others see their health goals and daily status etc., much less feel like the powers that be are tracking.
 

davidjschloss

macrumors regular
Dec 10, 2015
139
275
If Tim cared about health he would work to make health features of Apple Watch available to as many users as possible from the day of launch.

Experience proves over and over again he only cares about getting them approved in a single region for the sake of advertising. It can then be rolled out to other regions over months or years depending on what is most cost effective.
Oh FFS. Every country has its own bureaucracy and procedures for certifying health devices. They're often byzantine and complicated to navigate.

So, with each watch they should wait until the technology has been approved in EVERY COUNTRY before rolling it out?

Wouldn't that lead to....fewer people having access to it?

Right now there are 330-ish million people in the US. So your idea is the watch shouldn't be made available until they can get every country verified on launch day? That would mean that 330M people would have to wait to get a technology that could save their lives until Zimbabwe and the Isle of Man approved it. Why did I pick those countries? Because the Isle of Man has 84,000 residents, yet they're able to use Blood Ox, ECG and Irregular Rhythm Notification, but Zimbabwe is 14M and can only use Blood Ox, they haven't approve the ECG use yet.

There are 100 countries or regions on Apple's list of countries that can use ECG features and irregular rhythmhm. There are about 150 countries that can use Blood Ox.


So Apple shouldn't roll these technologies out to 100 countries until the other 50 allow them to? And what happens when a country doesn't approve the medical use? Do they just skip putting out that watch until every country on the planet has signed on?

The UN recognizes about 195 countries. Is 100 countries really not high enough for approval of all three technologies to be considered "to as many users as possible"?

Incidentally India is able to use all three services, mainland China can only use Blood Ox. Having both US and India supported means right there with 2 countries, 1.6B people can have access to all three technologies, and for Blood Ox that number jumps to 3B people.

IOW 25% of the Earth's population can use all three of the health services, and about 1/3 of the earth can use Blood Ox. And they all can use pulse.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.