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Apple wants to run a network of clinics operated by doctors it hires who will use health data generated by its devices, according to a new report.
The company would offer primary care services alongside continuous health monitoring through a subscription-based program, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The plan was reportedly hatched in 2016 by an Apple team after the company’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams told employees to disrupt America’s “363” care model, under which patients rarely see their doctors more than twice a year — and only when they’re sick or hurt.
If the company could successfully use the vast amount of health data generated by devices like the Apple Watch to improve primary care, the company could sell the system to other health care groups and even entire countries, the Journal reported.
Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Apple started to test its primary-care plan on its own employees in 2017 under the code name “Casper,” hiring Stanford University doctor Sumbul Desai to oversee the effort, according to the report.
The company is allegedly still running the tests today but has struggled to advance the effort, partially due to concerns about how the program handles user data.
One manager in the health program reportedly quit in 2019 after Desai blew up over critical feedback in a meeting.
As Casper has struggled, Apple has turned its efforts toward the Apple Watch, which has health functions like heart-rate monitoring, according to the report.
Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to have big long-term health care plans for the company.
“I really believe that if you zoom out to the future and you look back to ask: ‘What has Apple’s greatest contribution been?’ It will be in the wellness-and-health area,” he said in a 2020 interview.
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