Apple Forges New Future for Customer-Centric Healthcare

When it comes to the big four tech companies all vying for their piece of the $3.5 trillion healthcare pie, Morgan Stanley thinks they should all just get along. A recent report by the multinational investment bank made the case for Apple buying into Haven - a joint healthcare initiative between Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

“We believe Apple joining Haven would fill two important gaps: 1) the ability to continuously monitor biometric data and 2) provide a platform to aggregate health information and in turn deliver new health services. Both are important as we transition to consumer-centric healthcare,” the analysts wrote.

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Haven was created to help employees of all three companies gain access to improved healthcare options at a more affordable price. While the specifics of how Haven will achieve these goals remains unclear, Apple’s addition to the tech-investment triumvirate appears to be nothing but healthcare high-fives and happy days for everyone.

If Morgan Stanley wanted to find a financial impetus for Apple to join Haven’s chorus for “Why can’t we be friends?”, their analysts may have hit pay dirt with the prediction that 35 percent of genus Malus’ business would be healthcare-related by 2027. The most optimistic projections made by the analysts estimate Apple’s take could total $313 billion in sector sales.

There is also the argument for what Apple can bring to the table. Very early on, Apple carved a niche for itself with its consumer wearables and landed themselves one of nine highly sought-after spots in the FDA’s Digital Health Software Precertification Program. In November 2017, Apple partnered with Stanford Medicine to run the Apple Heart study. The project utilized the Apple Watch’s heart monitor sensor to collect data on irregular heartbeats and warn users of potentially life-threatening conditions like atrial fibrillation.

More recently, the company entered into a partnership with medical scientists studying Parkinson’s Disease. Based on data collected from tremor-movements detected by their smartwatch sensors, researchers are able to adjust medication dosages through the company’s ‘movement disorder API’.

There are other examples where Apple used their tech to root out potential problems, including using the iPhone X for vision tests, AirPods for hearing tests and a speech recognition application to detect speech impairments associated with a stroke.

All of these innovations have given rise to a new kind of healthcare that champions individual empowerment over medical intervention. Medical data is being created at exponential rates and incremental changes that are harder to measure can be seen and celebrated by patients and providers alike.

Atul Gawande is the CEO of Haven and believes that technology is bringing big changes to the medical field: “The more capacity we develop to monitor the body and the brain for signs of future breakdown and to correct the course along the way – to deliver ‘precision medicine,’ as the lingo goes – the greater the difference health care can make in people’s lives, as well as in reducing future costs.”