Apple wants to be taken seriously in healthcare—it’s got a 60-page report to prove it

The news: Apple released a 60-page report detailing how its work in healthcare is important. It includes descriptions of its contributions to “science-based technology” through its clinical research partnerships.

Key details: Apple describes how it’s improving accessibility to health data for patients and healthcare providers as well as researchers and study participants.

  • Apple’s ResearchKit framework lets researchers recruit iPhone and Apple Watcher users for clinical studies.
  • The Health Records on iPhone tool in the Health app lets physicians and patients share medical data.
  • And its APIs help improve access to health information.
  • The report specifically highlights Apple’s focus on scientific validation and data privacy.

“Our vision for the future is to continue to create science-based technology that equips people with even more information and acts as an intelligent guardian for their health, so they’re no longer passengers on their own health journey,” says Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement. "Instead, we want people to be firmly in the driver’s seat with meaningful, actionable insights.”

Big Tech companies don’t often produce big reports on their healthcare achievements, and have often struggled in digital health.

  • "People have said Big Tech is coming to healthcare for years. It's not," Transcarent CEO Glen Tullman told Insider at a HealthXL event in New York last year.
  • For example, Google reshuffled its healthcare operations last year by spreading out its healthcare efforts companywide.

The bigger picture: Apple is showing that it’s getting more serious as a healthcare research partner. And it could be puffing its feathers to become an even more widely used clinical research tool.

The company offers a research app that lets users enroll in health studies using their iPhone.

  • As of July 2022, Apple is collaborating with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on the Apple Women’s Health Study, which explores the relationship between menstrual cycles and heart conditions.
  • Plus, it’s working with the American Heart Association and Brigham and Women’s Hospital on the Apple Heart and Movement Study studying mobility and heart health.
  • And it teamed up with the University of Michigan on the Apple Hearing Study exploring how sound levels affect hearing, stress levels and heart health.

What’s next? Apple will add women’s health capabilities, as well as monitoring for body temperature, glucose levels, and blood pressure in later versions of the Apple Watch.

  • It could be gearing up to present itself as a more attractive clinical research partner in the women’s health arena.