While most tech companies are scrambling to climb the machine learning mountain, Apple has its sights on a different goal. Sure, it did just dip its fingers in the smart home speaker jar, but its interests apparently lie elsewhere. According to insiders, Apple is looking to turn your iPhone into a one-stop shop for your medical information, with the goal of making it easier for users to share their information with health care personnel without having to go through the hoops and potential errors involved in traditional health care systems.
That Apple is interested in the health industry isn’t exactly that big of a secret, but never has its ambitions been regarded to be this big. Its current HealthKit platform, for example, has mostly been concerned with the basics like activities, calories, weight, and heart rate. There have also been talks about hardware and software to aid diabetics, supposedly a matter near and dear to the late Steve Jobs.
This new report, however, takes that to a whole new level. Apple is supposedly looking into the possibility of your iPhone being the repository of all your medical data and history, from doctor’s visits to lab results to prescriptions. As puzzling as that may sound for a tech company, Apple is trying to address a long-standing problem experienced by any patient: that of sharing their data between health providers and services,
It easy to underestimate what the health industry dubs as the “interoperability crisis”. Even health IT companies admit that having easy access to their own medical information across services and providers interests only a small fraction of the population, specifically those with grave conditions. In a way, this also makes this particular niche market ripe for the picking. Especially for a company like Apple who already has established a few stakes in the industry.
Apple is hardly the first or only company to have tried. Google, whose mission is to collect the world’s data, including your medical information, has tried and mostly given up, at least for now. Apple, however, has silently and secretly building up an army of specialists and acquisitions towards what seems to be a more encompassing, and more ambitious, health program.