When Steve Wozniak and the late Steve Jobs founded Apple in 1976, neither of them likely anticipated how influential the company would become in the development of the internet age and beyond. From their first typewriter-like computer, called the Apple I, to the game-changing Macintosh computer, the pair were at the tip of the spear of the emerging technology market in Silicon Valley. Over time, Apple released unique lines of innovative technologies including digital music players, pioneering smartphones, tablet computers and wearables.
Though Jobs passed away in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, his visionary and creative spirit still lives on at Apple. The company has continued as a leader in innovation and technology—not only in computing, but also in the ways we lead our lives as well. Apple’s most recent announcement highlights its vision to further disrupt the healthcare market with the release of iOS 11.3.
Apple broke into healthcare with the release of iOS 8 in the fall of 2014. “Health” was the first application of its kind to compile users’ health data from various applications into a single, centralized location for easy data tracking and software integration. Today, the application focuses on four key areas to encourage users to stay healthy.
In addition to providing users with advice in four core areas, “Health” also allows users to track their body measurements, heart rate, and test results.
Apple recently announced that one of the newest features of its Health application will allow users to maintain their medical records and associated information on their devices. According to the New York Times, the announcement is the latest indication of Apple’s focus on using its technology to give people more control over their health care.
This development will be in beta testing with roughly a dozen hospitals around the country, two of which include Johns Hopkins and Penn Medicine. Though patients whose providers are affiliated with these hospitals will have to opt-in to use the service, the tool will undoubtedly prove useful to patients who have an interest in becoming more invested and active in today’s age of patient empowerment.
When a patient uses the application, essential data, such as prescribed medications, will be able to be accessed 24/7. Other information that will be readily available includes allergies, chronic medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, procedures, and vital signs. Users will be notified directly on their phones as soon as new information about their health is available. There will likely be a consequential diminished need for patient portals because users will be able to access their information with just a few taps of their screen.
Pharma’s role is also evolving. The industry states that the number of patients who more readily recognize their conditions is increasing. Thanks to the power of the internet and new technology, patients are becoming more empowered every day. Apple is just one of the many companies that is looking to invest heavily in healthcare. As recently announced, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and J.P. Morgan are looking to disrupt the healthcare market as well.
What impact will these three companies potentially have on Apple’s strategy? Stay tuned for my next blog.