Apple Considered Buying Medical Clinic Startup Crossover Health

Apple considered purchasing medical clinic startup Crossover Health as part of its push into healthcare, reports CNBC. Apple is said to have participated talks with the healthcare company up until recently, but after months of discussion, no deal materialized.

According to its website, Crossover Health works with major companies to provide employees with on-site medical clinics. Some of its existing customers include Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Square, and Apple, with many of these companies offering on-campus medical care.


Citing three sources with knowledge of the talks, CNBC says it's not clear why no acquisition ultimately happened between the two companies. Apple also talked to One Medical, another startup that offers patient clinics in several different cities.

Whether Apple would use such a startup to develop public-facing actual medical clinics or use existing facilities to sell products and gather data is not known.
The discussions about expanding into primary care have been happening inside Apple's health team for more than a year, one of the people said. It is not yet clear whether Apple would build out its own network of primary care clinics, in a similar manner to its highly successful retail stores, or simply partner with existing players.
Apple has made serious inroads into medical care with the introduction of CareKit and ResearchKit. CareKit is aimed at helping app developers create health-related apps to allow consumers better access to healthcare data, while ResearchKit is aimed at helping medical professionals develop studies to further medical research using data gathered from Apple customers.

Apple is said to be aiming to make the iPhone a "one-stop shop" for medical info, offering a centralized way to store all of a person's health data.

In the past, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that health is an area that interests Apple because it's where hardware, software, and services can come together into "something that's magical." "We believe that health is something that is a huge problem in the world," said Cook in 2016. "We think it is ripe for simplicity and sort of a new view, and we'd like to contribute to that."


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Key Stanford Medical Researcher Joins Apple’s Health Team

Apple has hired the lead doctor of Stanford University's digital health initiative, Sumbul Desai, to take on an unspecified role in one of the tech company's health projects. The hire was rumored earlier this month, but Stanford Medicine confirmed it to Internet Health Management on Friday.

Desai headed up Stanford's Center for Digital Health, launched by the university's School of Medicine in January 2017. The center's mission is to enhance Stanford's digital health initiatives by collaborating with technology companies and undertaking clinical research and education. The center also helped develop MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular disease app built using ResearchKit in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

Desai worked at Stanford since 2008, beginning as a resident physician of internal medicine, before holding numerous roles including: Medical director of strategic innovations, assistant chief of strategy, clinical associate professor, associate chief medical officer of strategy and innovation, vice chair of strategy and innovation, and chief for the Center of Digital Health.

Apple has not revealed what role Desai will play at the company, whether she might join the team working on ResearchKit, HealthKit, and CareKit, or if she will work on an unrelated project. Apple has made several healthcare-related hires in recent years. In September it recruited Dr Mike Evans, a staff physician from St Michaels Hospital in Toronto and an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto. Two months later the company also hired Dr Ricky Bloomfield, who was director of mobile technology and strategy at Duke University Health System.

Apple has also hired Stanford doctor Rajiv Kumar, who has experience using HealthKit to help patients with diabetes, and Dr Stephen Friend, who helped build the data infrastructure for many ResearchKit apps.

Apple has kept quiet regarding what kind of products its health team is working on, but the company is known to be investigating advanced medical monitoring features, possibly for a future Apple Watch. The company is said to be working on implementing a new glucose monitoring feature and interchangeable smart bands, for example, while Apple CEO Tim Cook was allegedly spotted testing a prototype glucose monitor connected to his Apple Watch last month.


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Apple Working With Health Gorilla to Offer Comprehensive Medical Records on iPhone

In its quest to turn the iPhone into a comprehensive health repository for every iPhone user, Apple has teamed up with Health Gorilla, a company specializing in aggregating diagnostic information, reports CNBC.

Citing two sources familiar with Apple's plans, CNBC says Apple is working with Health Gorilla to add diagnostic data to the iPhone by cooperating with hospitals, imaging centers, and lab-testing companies. According to Health Gorilla's website, the startup offers a secure clinical network that aggregates health data from a range of providers, offering doctors and hospitals access to a comprehensive overview of a patient's health.

While the service is aimed at medical providers, patients are also able to use the service to get a copy of their medical records "in 10 minutes."

Access your complete health profile in one place, from prior medical history, to doctor and specialist referrals, to your latest test results. It's all available through Health Gorilla's secure clinical network, anytime - from your computer or your favorite device on the go.

Thousands of physicians, specialists, labs, clinics, health centers, hospitals, and other facilities are already connected to Health Gorilla. Reach them easily, and securely share information with everyone in your care circle - whether medical professionals or family and loved ones.
Last week, CNBC said Apple has a "secretive team" within its health unit that has been communicating with developers, hospitals, and industry groups with the aim of storing clinical data on the iPhone and turning it into a "one-stop shop" for medical info.

Apple wants to create a centralized database for all of a person's health data, which would allow the medical community to overcome existing barriers that often prevent or complicate the transfer of patient data between providers, ultimately resulting in better care for patients.

Through Health Gorilla, the Health app on the iPhone could perhaps include a range of data sourced directly from different health providers in the future, offering up blood work results, x-rays, physical therapy information, and more.

In addition to allegedly working with Health Gorilla, Apple is also said to have hired several developers familiar with the protocols dictating the transfer of electronic health records, and it has also talked with several health IT industry groups dedicated to universal medical records, including The Argonaut Project and The Carin Alliance.

Integration of detailed health records would make the Health app, which already aggregates medical data and health information from the Apple Watch and other connected devices, an even more valuable resource for iPhone users.


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Apple Aiming to Make iPhone ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Medical Info

Apple wants the iPhone to serve as a comprehensive health repository for every iPhone user, keeping track of medical data like doctors visits, lab results, medications, and more, reports CNBC.

Apple is said to have a "secretive team" within its health unit that has been communicating with developers, hospitals, and other industry groups about storing clinical data on the iPhone. With all of their medical data at their fingertips, iPhone users would have a better overall picture of their health, which could also be readily shared with doctors.


Apple has been hiring developers familiar with protocols dictating the transfer of electronic health records and has talked with several health IT industry groups, including "The Argonaut Project," which promotes the adoption of open standards for health information, and "The Carin Alliance," a group aiming to give patients more control over their medical data. According to CNBC, Apple VP of software technology Bud Tribble has been working with the latter group.

Apple is also rumored to be looking at startups in the cloud hosting space for acquisitions that would fit into its health plan.
Essentially, Apple would be trying to recreate what it did with music -- replacing CDs and scattered MP3s with a centralized management system in iTunes and the iPod -- in the similarly fragmented and complicated landscape for health data.

Such a move would represent a deviation in strategy from Apple's previous efforts in health care, the people said, which have focused on fitness and wellness.
A centralized way to store all of a person's health data would allow the medical community to overcome existing barriers that prevent the transfer of patient information between medical providers. Hospitals and doctors offices often don't have a simple way to transfer patient information, and online medical portals are sometimes difficult to use with little info available to patients,

Apple already allows iPhone users to record medical data and health information gathered by the Apple Watch and other connected devices in the built-in Health app, and it has delved into health research with CareKit and ResearchKit, but based on these rumors, the company's goal is to expand its health efforts far further in the future.


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Doctors Reveal Seizure Insights Gained From ResearchKit App

Medical doctors who used an Apple Watch app to discover the most common triggers of epileptic seizures will present their findings at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting today in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 10-month study involved 598 people who tracked their seizures with an iPhone app called EpiWatch, which was built by Johns Hopkins using Apple's ResearchKit software framework. The app features a custom Apple Watch complication that provides patients with one-touch access to record accelerometer and heart rate sensor data. When participants felt a seizure aura coming on, they were asked to launch the app to let it record their heart rate and movements for 10 minutes.


After the seizure had come to an end, participants filled out a brief survey about seizure type, aura, loss of awareness, and possible trigger that led to the seizure.
"The data collected will help researchers better understand epilepsy, while helping people with epilepsy keep a more complete history of their seizures," said study author Gregory Krauss, MD, in a press release. "The app also provides helpful tracking of seizures, prescription medication use and drug side effects -- activities that are important in helping people manage their condition."
Overall, 40 percent of the group tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 people reporting what triggered their seizures. Stress was revealed to be the most common trigger, and was linked to 37 percent of the seizures, while 18 percent of sufferers identified lack of sleep as another contributing factor. Meanwhile, menstruation was found to be a cause in 12 percent of recorded seizures, and overexertion accounted for 11 percent.

Stress was more commonly reported as a trigger for participants who worked full-time (35 percent), compared to those who worked part-time (21 percent), were unemployed (27 percent), or were disabled, (29 percent).

"Seizures are very unpredictable," said Krauss. "Our eventual goal is to be able to use wearable technology to predict an oncoming seizure. This could potentially save lives as well as give people with epilepsy more freedom. The data collected in this study helps us take a step in that direction."

The insights result from one of three ResearchKit studies launched by Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health & Science University in October 2015, which sought to learn more about autism, epilepsy and melanoma.

(Thanks, Fred!)

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