Apple Planned on Opening Proprietary Primary Care Clinics: WSJ

Apple reportedly planned on opening its own primary care clinics, staffed with its own people.

Apple has slowly but surely been developing health-focused tech in recent years, with flagship devices like the Apple Watch receiving new health features with each new iteration, reads a new report from Wall Street Journal.

However, Apple isn’t willing to just stop there — executives at the company have reportedly explored the idea of creating a full Apple-branded healthcare program, according to people familiar with the plans.

The plan was reportedly hatched in 2016 by an Apple team after the company’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams told employees to disrupt the United States’ “363” care model, under which patients rarely see their doctors more than twice a year — and only when they’re sick or hurt.

“Apple has envisioned an audacious plan for healthcare, offering its own primary-care medical service with Apple-employed doctors at its own clinics, according to people familiar with the plan and documents,” reads the report. “To test that and other bold healthcare ideas, it took over clinics that catered to its employees and built a team with scores of clinicians, engineers, product designers and others.”

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 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.

As Casper has struggled, Apple has turned its efforts toward the Apple Watch, which has health functions like heart-rate monitoring.

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