Apple is taking a step away from new iproducts and instead, is looking to expand into the health care industry. AC Wellness is a “subsidiary of Apple, Inc” and will be responsible for the Healthcare of Apple employees. Apple piloted two AC Wellness clinics in Santa Clara County, California and plan to expand it to many different locations this spring, in 2018. AC Wellness is still relatively new and is currently searching for employees. On their site, www.acwellness.com, the company is hiring physicians, phlebotomists, nurse practitioners, exercise coaches and health partners.
The clinical staff’s primary focus will be on Apple employees but the clinics will also be used to assist Apple in gathering data on some of their current health related products. The company is trying to prevent disease and promote healthy behavior in their employees to improve the company physically and financially. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, U.S. economic output is diminished by $260 billion every year because of employee health problems that lead to missed work days. The company’s ability to improve their productivity can help them develop even more health technology.
In September of 2017 Apple launched a study with Stanford University to study heartrate abnormalities in those who wear Apple Watches. In addition to these medical advancements, the FDA approved AliveCor’s KardiaBand electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, which is the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch. This can pair with an app and help detect abnormalities in the heartrate. This combination of technology has allowed the Apple Watch to become a working screening device with a 97 percent accuracy rate according to the Heart Rhythm Society. These apps and other health tools may be useful to the AC Wellness clinics in the future.
The initiative of the Apple Company to start expanding these clinics to more of their existing locations follows the news of Amazon and their desire to create a similar program. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan have decided to work together to improve their employee’s health care. Their partnership on this venture will help cut health costs and improve their services for their employees. Although these Amazon and it’s partners are clearly new to the health care industry, their announcement to join the health care sector helped slam health care company shares. Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett stated, “The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” These companies feel that their newly established plans to build corporate clinics will help solve some of the issues the health care sector has. Additionally, if these partners and Apple are able to develop cost cutting technology that would make health care affordable for all, then what does that mean for the health care industry?