Undoubtedly, Apple has made its mark on the world. More than 2.2 billion iPhones have been sold to date, upending the entire smartphone market. The company not only created a world-class hardware and software product, but also introduced a cultural paradigm regarding mobile phones. Indeed, with the advent of the iPhone, society started viewing the cell phone as a part of the human body— to the point of experiencing a sense of disorientation and loss without the presence of a phone at all times.
The company has since expanded far beyond just the original iPhone and has created an entire ecosystem of applications and software. Specifically, Apple has made incredible strides in the realm of healthcare, especially with regards to its hardware.
One of the company’s most celebrated achievements is its electrocardiogram (ECG) feature. The ECG application “records an electrocardiogram which represents the electrical pulses that make your heart beat. The ECG app checks these pulses to get your heart rate and see if the upper and lower chambers of your heart are in rhythm. If they’re out of rhythm, that could be AFib [atrial fibrillation].” The ECG is one of the most utilized tests in emergency departments internationally. The value of this test is incredible, as it can potentially elucidate a variety of cardiac pathologies. Indeed, this is one of Apple’s most important and impactful additions to the world of healthcare.
Apple has continued to create an entire ecosystem around healthcare through its “health app,” which helps “organize your important health information and make it easy to access in a central and secure place.” Specifically, “Health puts important information at your fingertips, including your health records, medications, labs, activitiy, and sleep. And makes it simple to securely share that information. [Additionally, the app] collects health and fitness data from your iPhone, the built-in sensors on your Apple Watch, compatible third party devices, and apps that use HealthKit.” Most importantly, “The Health app is built to keep data secure and protect your privacy. Your data is is encrypted and you are always in control of your health information.”
In its latest efforts, Apple is also reportedly developing a continuous glucose monitoring tool that is non-invasive and does not require a finger-prick, unlike traditional systems. Indeed, this is just yet another hardware advancement in the Apple health ecosystem.
This ecosystem has created a huge opportunity for Apple to partner with providers. Specifically, it paves the way for the company to partner with hospital systems and physician organizations for a variety of services, including health-at-home monitoring programs and point of care delivery. Furthermore, with this robust array of products, the company is rich in healthcare data. This could prove incredibly useful for payors (e.g. insurance companies), which are increasingly using patient data to optimize patterns in patient care and distribution of services. Indeed, both potential partnerships will be revolutionary.
Overall, Apple has positioned itself to be a market leader and innovator. Without a doubt, the company will continue to innovate new technologies and create novel ways to deliver pertinent healthcare services. It will of course have to develop this technology in a way that preserves patient safety, privacy, and in a manner that is compliant with regulations. However, if done correctly, Apple has the potential to deliver incredible value to humanity in the years to come.