iPhone and iPad users know that when something on your device doesn’t work, you make an appointment to fix it at an Apple Store. If Apple’s new pilot program comes to fruition, we’ll eventually be making appointments for what ails us, too.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has “an audacious plan for healthcare” that involves a network of “Apple-employed doctors at its own clinics,” some of which are already in place. The new service “hasn’t gotten off the ground,” according to the report, but Apple is currently testing the program with employees in Cupertino.
Apple has reportedly taken over clinics in California to test the concept. However, the Journal reports that the initiative is struggling as “employees have raised questions internally about the integrity of health data coming from the company’s clinics that has been used to support product development.” Additionally, engagement has been low, with patients reportedly not engaging with the apps Apple offers to complement the care.
Health care has been a major undertaking for Apple under Tim Cook’s leadership, with the Apple Watch gaining sensors and features to promote fitness and wellness and the CEO saying in 2019 that “there will be a day we look back and say Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind has been in healthcare.”
For now, Apple’s legacy is the Apple Watch, the Journal says. While Apple hasn’t abandoned its primary-care ambitions, it has “shifted the focus of its health unit” to selling devices. Just last week, Apple launched iOS 15 and watchOS 8, which include several health-related advancements, including new ways to share data with healthcare providers and trend analysis, as well as new Fitness+ classes and sleeping respiratory rate tracking.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.