Apple is reportedly developing its own subscription-based healthcare service, but is struggling to get it off the ground due to failed tests among its own employees, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The service is said to link data from users’ Apple Watches with ‘virtual and in-person care provided by Apple doctors.’
Testing of the service, codename Casper, began in 2016, but employees quickly expressed concerns about how their health data was being shared.
People familiar with the matter told The Journal that some employee data was ‘inaccurate or compiled haphazardly’ when it was used to support the rollout of a new healthcare app.
According to WSJ’s sources, Apple is pushing forward with Casper, but has yet to get it out of a preliminary stage of testing and development.
The service is said to link data from users’ Apple Watches with ‘virtual and in-person care provided by Apple doctors.’ Testing of the service, codename Casper, began in 2016, but employees quickly expressed concerns about how their health data was being shared
DailyMail.com has contacted Apple for comment and has yet to receive a response.
The healthcare subscription service was conceived in 2015, shortly after the Apple Watch was introduced, according to people familiar with the matter.
Using the wearable device would allow Apple to offer primary care to users, along with a ‘continuous health monitoring as part of a subscription-based personalized health program, according to these people and the documents.
After have a set plan, Apple hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University to run the effort in 2017
After have a set plan, Apple reportedly hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University to run the effort in 2017 and the program was then known internally as Casper
The news of Desai joining Apple made headlines in 2017, when she was given a senior role at the firm, CNBC reported.
At Stanford, Desai was involved with a number of digital health projects from well-known technology companies, including Apple.
However, The Journal states that once Desai came aboard, the program began to unravel.
Multiple employees in her unit left who said they were discouraged from providing critical feedback, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.
‘Some employees expressed concerns that internal data about the clinics’ performance, data that was recently used to support the rollout of a new digital health app, has been inaccurate or compiled haphazardly,’ according to documents obtained by the WSJ and people familiar with the data.
However, Dr Desai is still working in the digital healthcare unit at Apple and has recently developed a new app called HealthHabit.
The app is reportedly being tested on Apple employees in California, but is also struggling to get off the ground due to a lack of engagement since it launched six months ago according to documents and people familiar with the app.
HealthHabit allegedly lets users chat with clinicians and allows them to set health challenges, similar to the Apple Watch.
However, users can be more specific with goals such as ‘I will exercise more this week.’
It also allows users with hypertension to connect with health coaches, who can see their blood-pressure data to suggest healthier habits.
People familiar with the app and documents stated that only half the employees involved in the trial have downloaded the app as of May, but engagement has been very low.
The app is being developed by AC Wellness, a subsidiary of Apple, which is a group of health clinics that launched in 2018.
The network was launched as a testing ground for digital health products, according to CNBC.
Dr Desai is still working in the digital healthcare unit at Apple and has recently developed a new app called HealthHabit. The app is reportedly being tested on Apple employees in California
AC Wellness also has its own app in the Apple Store that provides users with healthcare services and even schedule appointments.
The report is just the tip of Apple’s healthcare iceberg, as the firm recently unveiled its iOS 15 this month that includes changes to its Healthcare app and how data is shared.
TechCrunch‘s Darrell Etherington spoke with Apple Vice President of Technology Kevin Lynch who said users can now share how data is shared and prohibit access any time in the app.
The other person you’re watching out for can see that information, and be notified of changes, and you can see a little dashboard of the data,’ Lynch said.
‘That’s going to be super helpful, we hope, for people, especially as you’re caring for an older adult, or caring for a partner of yours — that’s going to basically enable people to do that kind of mutual support on their health journey