Apple Looked To Employ Doctors, Launch Primary-Care Clinics In Bid To Dominate Health Sector: WSJ

Apple Inc AAPL planned to offer its own primary-care medical service, complete with doctors in the tech giant's employ, to roll out a subscription-based personalized health program, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

What Happened: The Tim Cook-led company tested its plans by taking over clinics that served its employees and built a team that employed clinicians, engineers, product designers, and others, the Journal reported.

The idea to offer primary-care medicine was conceived in 2016, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. Notably, the Apple Watch was released in 2015.

At the time, Apple’s health team reportedly decided the way to realize their ambitions was to link data generated by Apple devices with both virtual and in-person care provided by Apple doctors as a part of a subscription-based program.

In 2017, the Cupertino-based tech giant hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford to run its testing efforts at employee clinics, which is purportedly codenamed Casper.

Desai’s recent initiative is a digital health app dubbed HealthHabit. The app is being tested on Apple employees in California, but has struggled with low engagement since its launch six months ago, people in the know told the Journal.

Why It Matters: Apple employees have raised concerns about internal data about the clinics’ performance; this data was used to support the rollout of the new digital health app, noted the Journal.

See Also: Apple Watch, iPhone Can Remotely Assess 'Frailty' In Cardiovascular Patients

A spokesperson for the tech giant dismissed the criticism as inaccurate and dismissed reports that Desai responded angrily when an employee raised questions on data.

“This matter was investigated thoroughly and the allegations could not be substantiated,” said the spokesperson, as per the Journal.

Meanwhile,, Inc AMZN is targeting healthcare expansion by bringing its internal healthcare service to other companies. 

In December, reports emerged that the Jeff Bezos-led retail giant worked on building a national telehealth business.

Price Action: On Wednesday, Apple shares closed nearly 0.4% higher at $130.15 and fell 0.72% in after-hours trading.

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