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Apple's CEO Still Excited About Healthcare

Article-Apple's CEO Still Excited About Healthcare

Apple would still like a slice of the trillions of dollars spent on healthcare each year. 

Qmed Staff

Tim Cook ApplePerhaps Apple will never again have a device as successful, frankly as ubiquitous, as the smartphone. But the high tech giant could still make a lot of money if it is able capture just a fraction of business in the industries it is reportedly eyeing for further expansion--and that includes healthcare. 

In a recent in-depth Fast Company piece about his leadership and Apple's future, Tim Cook brightened when asked about healthcare, a market in which the World Health Organization says trillions of dollars are spent annually:

"We've gotten into the health arena and we started looking at wellness, that took us to pulling a string to thinking about research, pulling that string a little further took us to some patient-care stuff, and that pulled a string that's taking us into some other stuff," Cook said. "When you look at most of the solutions, whether it's devices, or things coming up out of Big Pharma, first and foremost, they are done to get the reimbursement [from an insurance provider]. Not thinking about what helps the patient. So if you don't care about reimbursement, which we have the privilege of doing, that may even make the smartphone market look small."

The Apple Watch, which includes some fitness tracking features, has not been the blockbuster that was expected for Apple. But Cook's statements suggest that Apple is still very much in the game when it comes to doing something disruptive in the medical device market. 

Earlier this year, Apple launched CareKit, an open source framework that includes four modules that app developers can take advantage of for iOS. There's Care Card for medication and prescribed activity tracking, Symptom and Measurement Tracker that takes advantage of the iPhone's accelerometer and gyroscope, Insight Dashboard to compare symptoms with Care Card activities, and Connect to share information and communicate with health providers or friends and family. 

The CareKit comes on top of the previously launched ResearchKit that enables medical researchers to tap much wider study samples using smart devices. 

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Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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[Image courtesy of Valery Marchive (LeMagIT)derivative work: RanZag (talk) - Tim_Cook_2009.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0]

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