Reports indicate that Apple has previously considered acquiring a startup known a Crossover Health with a view to expanding into healthcare. Crossover Health partners with organizations which have a huge employee base to develop and run medical clinics on campus. Some of the clients of Crossover Health include Facebook and Apple. Areas that Crossover Health, which touts digital features such as same-day appointments through a mobile application, has clinics include the Bay Area and New York.
According to sources talks between Apple and Crossover Health ran for a couple of months though a deal didn’t materialize. Apple is also said to have approached One Medical, a primary care group that operates all over the United States.
Network of clinics
The same sources indicated that discussions on Apple’s expansion into primary care had been conducted by the tech giant’s health team. However it was not clear how Apple intended to roll out its expansion into healthcare – whether to partner with players in the sector that already exist or to build out a network of clinics in a manner similar to its retail stores.
With regards to an expansion into healthcare some experts are of the view that Apple’s intention is to build out the retail footprint that already exists. Apple’s retail store network which now numbers over 300 across the United States has emerged as an important sales channel.
A prominent investor in health technologies, Nina Kjellson, said the idea of Apple expanding into healthcare was plausible arguing that such a move would also assist in building the credibility of Apple Watch as well as health apps.
“Apple has cracked a nut in terms of consumer delight, and in the health care setting a non-trivial proportion of satisfaction comes from the quality of interaction in the waiting room and physical space,” said Kjellson.
The chief executive officer of Apple, Tim Cook, has previously said that he views health not as a philanthropic endeavor but a business opportunity. In the recent past the iPhone maker has recruited health consultants, doctors as well as other medical experts. The Cupertino, California-based firm is also working with the FDA on ways of fast-tracking the approval of digital health software.
Apple’s reported move into healthcare comes at a time when the supply of primary care physicians is being outstripped by the demand in the United States. Per some estimates, by 2025 there will be a deficit of primary care doctors and this number will be as high as 35,000.